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Donated by 

The Redemptorists of 
the Toronto Province 

from the Library Collection of 
Holy Redeemer College, Windsor 

University of 
St. Michael s College, Toronto 



Jtihil bstat. 


Censor Deputaiim. 




Vicarius Generalis. 


die 13 Jl/oti, 1908. 



















IT is a pleasure to me to have to address to you, 
in the Sovereign Pontiff s name, high praise and the 
expression of his most lively satisfaction on the 
occasion of my presenting to him your splendid little 
work entitled Catechism on Modernism, according to 
the Encyclical " Pascendi Dominici Gregis." 

The character of the Pontifical document and the 
nature of the errors therein condemned were of a kind 
to render difficult the prompt and complete under 
standing, in all its slightest details, of that most 
important Encyclical ; I mean, for the less cultured 
classes, who are strangers to the progress of doctrines, 
true or false, and for those also who, unfortunately, 
too prone to give access to errors, especially when such 
are set before them under the false appearances of 
science, are not sufficiently alert to understand as 
readily the cause of the evil. 

This is why you have performed a task of singular 
utility in reducing to its component parts the aforesaid 
document, in the simple yet connected manner of your 
Catechism, thus fitting it to the capacities of the least 
cultivated minds. 

His Holiness rejoices at the talented and fruitful 
labour you have accomplished, and, commending you 


also on the further ground of keeping close to the very 
letter of the Encyclical, he expresses the hope that 
the result of your most opportune study will be widely 
diffused, and he heartily grants you the Apostolic 

And I, in my turn, having made to you this com 
munication, thank you for the copy of the booklet in 
question which you have so kindly presented to me, 
and I renew the expression of the sentiments of pro 
found esteem with which I am your most affectionate 


December 14, 1907. 




It is with much pleasure that I congratulate 
you, in the name of the Holy Father, on having trans 
lated into English the Catechism on Modernism, 
according to the Encyclical " Pascendi Dominici 
Gregis," by Father Lemius, O.M.I. His Holiness 
has, as you are aware, graciously deigned to express the 
highest praise of Fr. Lemius s work, which renders the 
meaning of the Encyclical clearer than it might other 
wise be to those who are not familiar with the subject 
of which it treats ; and you have rendered an important 
service in doing the Catechism into English, and so 
placing it within the reach of the English-speaking 

In the hope that your labours will bear much fruit, 
and in token of his goodwill, the Holy Father gladly 
grants you the Apostolic Benediction. 

Believe me, dear Rev. Father, 

Your devoted servant in Christ, 

March 6, 1908. 





OBJECT ... . . 6 












VIII. DOGMA - - 20 
















I. DOGMA - 41 




RIGHTS - - 46 










V. CONCLUSION - - - - - - 77 


















1. NEGATIVE MEANS - - 105 

2. POSITIVE MEANS - - 111 













N.B. This Catechism reproduces, in its entirety and 
in the exact order of its ideas, the Encyclical of our Holy 
Father the Pope On the Doctrines of the Modernists. 
The Text used is that of the Official Translation published 
with authority. The divisions and subdivisions are those 
that are found in the French version issued by the 
Vatican Press. 




Q. What is one of the primary duties appointed by 
Christ to the Sovereign Pontiff ? 

A. His Holiness the Pope replies : One of the 
primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office 
divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord s flock, 
is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the 
deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting 
the profane novelties of words and the gainsaying of 
knowledge falsely so called. 

Q. Has such vigilance been necessary in every age ? 

A. There has never been a time when this watch 
fulness of the Supremo Pastor was not necessary to the 
Catholic body ; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of 
the human race, there has never been lacking " men 
speaking perverse things,"* "vain talkers and se- 
ducers,"f "erring and driving into error." J 

Q. Are these men, erring and driving into error, more 
numerous in our day, and what object have they in view ? 

A. It must be confessed that these latter days 
have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the 

* Acts xx. 30. f Titus i, 10. \ 2 Tim. iii. 13. 



enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely 
new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital 
energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly 
to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ. 

Q. Why may not the Sovereign Pontiff remain 
silent ? 

A. We may no longer keep silence, lest We should 
seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the 
kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have 
hitherto shown them, should be set down to lack of 
diligence in the discharge of Our office. 

Q. Where in these days are the partisans* of error 
are they open enemies ? 

A. That we should act without delay in this 
matter, continues the Holy Father, is made impera 
tive, especially by the fact that the partisans of error 
are to be sought, not only among the Church s open 
enemies, but, what is most to be dreaded and deplored, 
in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the 
less they keep in the open. 

Q. Holy Father, are these secret enemies, who wring 
your paternal heart, to be found among Catholics, and are 
there even priests among them ? 

A. Yes. We allude to many who belong to the 
Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks 
of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal 
for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philo 
sophy and theology, nay, more, thoroughly imbued 
with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of 

* The French, mistranslating rather felicitously, has artisans 
d erreurs. J. F. 


the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put 
themselves forward as reformers of the Church. 

Q. Do these Catholic laymen and these priests, who 
pose as reformers of the Church, dare to attack the work 
and even the person of Jesus Christ ? 

A. Forming boldly into line of attack, they assail 
all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing 
even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with 
sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of 
a simple and ordinary man. 

Q. But will these men be astonished at being accounted 
by Your Holiness as enemies of Holy Church ? 

A. Although they express their astonishment that 
We should number them amongst the enemies of the 
Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We 
should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal 
disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, 
he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, 
and their action. Nor, indeed, would he bo wrong 
in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the 
adversaries of the Church. 

Q. Why do you say they are the worst enemies of the 
Church ? 

A. As We have said, they put into operation their 
designs for her undoing, not from without but from 
within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the 
very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is 
the more certain from the very fact that their know 
ledge of her is more intimate. 

Q. For what other reason are they the worst enemies 
of the Church ? 



A. Moreover, they lay the axe not to the branches 
and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith 
and its deepest fibres. 

Q. Are they satisfied with cutting at the root of 
immortal life ? 

A. Once having struck at this root of immortality, 
they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, 
so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they 
leave untouched, none that they do not strive to 

Q. By what means do they pursue their purpose 
ivhat tactics do they adopt ? 

A. None is more skilful, none more astute than 
they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices ; 
for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, 
a;id this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary 
into error. 

Q. But must not the consequences of their doctrine 
alarm and drive back these Catholics, these priests ? 

A. As audacity is their chief characteristic, there 
is iio conclusion of any kind from which they shrink, 
or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity 
and assurance. 

Q. What is it that renders them particularly dan 
gerous and gives them greater power to lead minds astray ? 

A. The fact, which indeed is well calculated to 
deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest 
activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every 
branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a 
reputation for irreproachable morality. 


Q. Is there any hope of remedy ? 

A. There is the fact, which is all but fatal to the 
hope of cure, that their very doctrines have given such 
a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority 
and brook no restraint ; and, relying upon a false con 
science, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that 
which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy. 

Q. Holy Father, did you yourself not hope to reclaim 
these erring ones ? 

A. Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them 
to a better mind, and to this end We first of all treated 
them with kindness as Our children ; then with 
severity ; and at last We have had recourse, though 
with great reluctance, to public reproof. It is known 
to you how unavailing have been Our efforts. For a 
moment they have bowed their head, only to lift it 
more arrogantly than before. 

Q. Since all hope of converting such enemies is lost, 
why, Holy Father, do you lift up your voice ? 

A. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, 
We might perhaps have overlooked it ; but the 
security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore 
We must interrupt a silence which it would be criminal 
to prolong. 

Q. Is it, then, time to speak out ? 

A. Yes, that We may point out to the whole 
Church, as they really are, men who are badly dis 
guised. * 

* The Latin has been rendered in the United States as follows : 
It is time to unmask these men, and show them to the Universal 
Church, even as they are. And the French is, word for word, the 
same. J. F. 


Q. What name, must we give to these new enemies of 
Christ and of His Church ? 

A. Modernists as they are commonly and rightly 

Q. What is the object of the Encyclical ? 

A. It is one of the cleverest devices of the 
Modernists to present their doctrines without order 
and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and dis 
jointed manner, so as to make it appear as if 
their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in 
reality they are quite fixed and steadfast. For this 
reason it will be of advantage to bring their teachings 
together here into one group, and to point out their 
interconnexion, and thus to pass to an examination of 
the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for 
averting the evil results. 

Q. How is the Encyclical divided ? 
A. It is divided into three parts : 

Part I. The Errors of the Modernists. 
Part II. The Causes of Modernism. 
Part III. The Remedies for Modernism. 




Q. To proceed in an orderly manner in the statement 
of the errors of Modernism, how many characters are to 
be considered as playing their parts in the Modernist ? 

A. To proceed in an orderly manner in this some 
what abstruse subject, it must first of all be noted that 
the Modernist sustains and includes within himself a 
manifold personality : he is a philosopher, a believer, a 
theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. 
These roles must be clearly distinguished one from 
another by all who would accurately understand their 
system, and thoroughly grasp the principles and the 
outcome of their doctrines. 




Q. We begin, then, with the philosopher what 
doctrine do the Modernists lay down as the basis of their 
religious philosophy ? 

A. Modernists place the foundation of religious 



philosophy in that doctrine which is commonly called 

Q. How may the teaching of Agnosticism be summed 

A. According to this teaching, human reason is 
confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is 
to say, to things that appear, and in the manner in 
which they appear : it has neither the right nor the 
power to overstep these limits. Hence it is incapable 
of lifting itself up to God, and of recognizing His 
existence, even by means of visible things. 

Q. What conclusion do the Modernists deduce from 
this teaching ? 

A. From this it is inferred that God can never be 
the direct object of science, and that, as regards history, 
He must not be considered as an historical subject. 

Q. Given these premisses, what becomes of Natural 
Theology, of the motives of credibility, of external 
revelation ? 

A. Every one will at once perceive. The Modern 
ists simply sweep them entirely aside ; they include 
them in Intellectualism, which they denounce as a 
system which is ridiculous and long since defunct. 

Q. Do not, at least, the, Churctis condemnations make 
them pause ? 

A. Nor does the fact that the Church has formally 
condemned these portentous errors exercise the slightest 
restraint upon them. 

Q. What, in opposition to Modernism, is the doctrine 
of the Vatican Council upon this point ? 

A. The Vatican Council has defined : " If anyone 


says that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, 
cannot be known with certainty by the natural light of 
human reason by means of the things that are made, 
let him be anathema ";* and also : "If anyone says 
that it is not possible or not expedient that man be 
taught, through the medium of divine revelation, about 
God and the worship to be paid Him, let him be 
anathema ";f and finally : " If anyone says that divine 
revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, 
and that therefore men should be drawn to the faith 
only by their personal internal experience or by private 
inspiration, let him be anathema." J 

Q. It may be asked : In ivhat way do the Modernists 
contrive to make the transition from Agnosticism, which 
is a state of pure nescience, to scientific and historic 
Atheism, which is a doctrine of positive denial ; and, 
consequently, by ivhat legitimate process of reasoning 
they proceed from the fact of ignorance as to ivhether God 
has in fact intervened in the history of the human race 
or not, to explain this history, leaving God out altogether, 
as if He really had not intervened ? 

A. Let him answer who can. Yet it is a fixed 
and established principle among them that both science 
and history must be atheistic ; and within their bound 
aries there is room for nothing but phenomena ; God 
and all that is divine are utterly excluded. 

Q. What, as a consequence of this most absurd teach 
ing, must be held touching the most sacred Person of 
Christ, and the mysteries of His life and death, and of 
His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven ? 

A. We shall soon see clearly. 
* De Revel., can. 1. f Ibid., can. 2. J De Fide, can. 3. 



Q. According to what you have just said, this 
Agnosticism is only the negative part of the system of the 
Modernists what is, then, its positive side ? 

A. The positive part consists in what they call 
vital immanence. 

Q. How do the Modernists pass from Agnosticism to 
Immanentism ? 

A. Thus they advance from one to the other. 
Religion, whether natural or supernatural, must, like 
every other fact, admit of some explanation. But 
when natural theology has been destroyed, a.rid the 
road to revelation closed by the rejection of the argu 
ments of credibility, and all external revelation abso 
lutely denied, it is clear that this explanation will be 
sought in vain outside of man himself. It must, there 
fore, be looked for in man ; and since religion is a form 
of life, the explanation must certainly be found in the 
life of man. In this way is formulated the principle of 
religious immanence* 

Q. / understand that the Modernists, partisans as they 
are of Agnosticism, can seek for no explanation of religion 
except in man and in man s life itself. 

And now, to explain this vital immanence, what do 
they assign as the primal stimulus and primal manifesta 
tion of every vital phenomenon, and particularly of 
religion ? 

A. The first actuation, so to speak, of every vital 
phenomenon and religion, as noted above, belongs to 
this category is due to a certain need or impulsion ; 
but speaking more particularly of life, it has its origin 


in a movement of the heart, which movement is called 
a sense. * 

Q. According to such principles, where is the prin 
ciple of faith, and therefore of religion ? 

A. As God is the object of religion, we must con 
clude that faith, which is the basis and foundation of 
all religion, must consist in a certain interior sense, 
originating in a need of the divine. 

Q. According to the Modernists, does this need of the 
divine belong at least to the domain of consciousness ? 

A. This need of the divine, which is experienced 
only in special and favourable circumstances, cannot, 
of itself, appertain to the domain of consciousness. 

Q. Where, then, according to them, is to be found this 
need of the divine ? 

A. It is first latent beneath consciousness, or, 
to borrow a term from modern philosophy, in the 
subconsciousness, where also its root lies hidden and 


Q. ; It may perhaps be asked how it is that this need 
of the divine which man experiences within himself 
resolves itself into religion. How is it? 

A. To this question the Modernist reply would be 
as follows : Science and history are confined within 
two boundaries, the one external, namely, the visible 

* The Latin word in this and cognate passages is sensus, and, of 
course, we can be said to have a sense of the divine ; but senti 
ment would perhaps express better the meaning of the Modernists. 
J. F. 


world, the other internal, which is consciousness. 
When one or other of these limits has been reached, 
there can be no further progress, for beyond is the un 
knowable. In the presence of this unknowable, whether 
it is outside man and beyond the visible world of 
nature, or lies hidden within the subconsciousness, the 
need of the divine in a soul which is prone to religion, 
excites according to the principles of Fideism, without 
any previous advertence of the mind a certain special 
sense, and this sense possesses, implied within itself 
both as its own object and as its intrinsic cause, the 
divine reality itself, and in a way unites man with God. 
It is this sense to which Modernists give the name of 
faith, and this is what they hold to be the beginning 
of religion. 


Q. What a philosophy is this of the Modernists / 
but does it end there ? 

A. We have not yet reached the end of their 
philosophizing, or, to speak more accurately, of their 

Q. What more, then, can they find in their alleged 
sense of the divine ? 

A. Modernists find in this sense, not only faith, 
but in and with faith, as they understand it, they affirm 
that there is also to be found revelation. 

Q. Revelation ? But how ? 

A. Indeed, what more is needed to constitute a 
revelation ? Is not that religious sense which is per 
ceptible in the conscience revelation, or at least the 


beginning of revelation ? Nay, is it not God Himself 
manifesting Himself indistinctly, it is true in this 
same religious sense, to the soul ? And they add : 
Since God is both the object and the cause of faith, 
this revelation is at the same time of God and from 
God, that is to say, God is both the Revealer and 
the Revealed. 

Q. What is the absurd doctrine that springs from 
this philosophy, or, rather, these divagations of the 
Modernists ? 

A. From this springs that most absurd tenet of 
the Modernists, that every religion, according to the 
different aspect under which it is viewed, must be con 
sidered as both natural and supernatural. 

Q. What further follows from this ? 

A. It is thus that they make consciousness and 
revelation synonymous. 

Q. From this, finally, what supreme and universal 
law do they seek to impose ? 

A. From this they derive the law laid down as 
the universal standard, according to which religious 
consciousness is to be put on an equal footing with 
revelation, and that to it all must submit. 

Q. All must submit ? even the supreme authority of 
the Church ? 

A. Even the supreme authority of the Church, 
whether in the capacity of teacher, or in that of 
legislator in the province of sacred liturgy or dis 



Q. What more is necessary in order to give a complete 
idea of the origin of faith and revelation, as these are 
understood by the Modernists ? 

A. In all this process, from which, according to the 
Modernists, faith and revelation spring, one point is to 
be particularly noted, for it is of capital importance, 
on account of the historico-critical corollaries which 
they* deduce from it. 

Q. How does the Unknowable of the Modernist philo 
sophy, as this has been above explained, present itself to 
faith ? 

A. The Unknowable they speak of docs not present 
itself to faith as something solitary and isolated ; but, 
on the contrary, in close conjunction with some pheno 
menon, which, though it belongs to the realms of science 
or history, yet to some extent exceeds their limits. 

Q. What phenomenon do you mean ? 

A. Such a phenomenon may be a fact of nature 
containing within itself something mysterious ; or it 
may be a man, whose character, actions and words 
cannot, apparently, be reconciled with the ordinary 
laws of history. 

Q. From the fact of this connexion between the Un 
knowable and some phenomenon, what happens to faith ? 

A. Faith, attracted by the Unknowable which is 
united with the phenomenon, seizes upon the whole 
phenomenon, and, as it were, permeates it with its own 


Q. What follows from this extension of faith to the 
phenomenon and this penetrating it with life ? 

A. From this two things follow. 

Q. What is the first consequence ? 

A. The first is a sort of transfiguration of the phe 
nomenon, by its elevation above its own true condi 
tions an elevation by which it becomes more adapted 
to clothe itself with the form of the divine character 
which faith will bestow upon it. 

Q. What is the second consequence ? 

A. The second consequence is a certain disfigura 
tion so it may be called of the same phenomenon, 
arising from the fact that faith attributes to it, when 
stripped of the circumstances of place and time, 
characteristics which it does not really possess. 

Q. In the case of what phenomena, particularly, 
according to the Modernists, does this double operation of 
transfiguration and disfiguration take place ? 

A. This takes place especially in the case of the 
phenomena of the past, and the more fully in the 
measure of their antiquity. 

Q. And, what laws do the Modernists deduce from this 
double operation ? 

A. From these two principles the Modernists 
deduce two laws, which, when united with a third 
which they have already derived from Agnosticism, 
constitute the foundation of historical criticism. 

Q. Can you explain to us these three laws by an 
example ? 

A. An example may be sought in the Person of 


Christ. In the Person of Christ, they say, science and 
history encounter nothing that is not human. There 
fore, in virtue of the first canon deduced from Agnos 
ticism, whatever there is in His history suggestive of 
the divine must be rejected. Then, according to the 
second canon, the historical Person of Christ was trans 
figured by faith ; therefore everything that raises it 
above historical conditions must be removed. Lastly, 
the third canon, which lays down that the Person of 
Christ has been disfigured by faith, requires that every 
thing should be excluded, deeds and words and all else, 
that is not in strict keeping with His character, condi 
tion, and education, and with the place and time in 
which He lived. 

Q. -What kind of reasoning is that ? 

A.. A method of reasoning which is passing 
strange, but in it we have the Modernist criticism. 


Q. Is the religious sense, then, according to the 
Modernists, the real germ, and the entire explanation, of 
all religion ? 

A. The religious sense, which through the agency 
of vital immanence emerges from the lurking-places of 
the subconsciousness, is the germ of all religion, and the 
explanation of everything that has been or ever will be 
in any religion. 

Q. How does this religious sense develop ? 

A. This sense, which was at first only rudimentary 
and almost formless, under the influence of that mys 
terious principle from which it originated, gradually 


matured with the progress of human life, of which, as 
has been said, it is a certain form. 

Q. Do all religions, then, according to the Modernists, 
come from this ? 

A. This is the origin of all. 

Q. Even of supernatural religion ? 

A. Even of supernatural religion. For religions 
are mere developments of this religious sense? 

Q. But do they not make an exception for the Catholic 
religion ? 

A. Nor is the Catholic religion an exception : it 
is quite on a level with the rest. 

Q. What consciousness, then, served as cradle for 
the Catholic religion ? 

A. The consciousness of Christ, they say, who 
was a Man of the choicest nature, whose like has never 
been, nor will be. 

Q. And from what principle do they dare to pretend 
it was engendered in the consciousness of Christ ? 

A. It was engendered by the process of vital 
immanence, and by no other way. 

Q. Is it not a great audacity to say so, and a great 
blasphemy ? 

A. In hearing these things, we shudder indeed at 
so great an audacity of assertion and so great a sacri- 

Q. But, Holy Father, surely it is only unbelievers 
who maintain such doctrines ? 



A. The Pope Badly replies : These are not merely 
the foolish babblings of unbelievers. There are 
Catholics, yea, and priests too, who say these things 

Q. But what do these, Catholics, these priests, mean 
by all this ? 

A. They boast that they are going to reform the 
Churoh by these ravings. 

Q. Does not this Modernism seem to be the ancient 
error of Pelagius ? 

A. The question is no longer one of the old error 
which claimed for human nature a sort of right to the 
supernatural. It has gone far beyond that. 

Q. In what way ? 

A. It has reached the point when it is affirmed that 
our most holy religion, in the man Christ as in us, 
emanated from nature spontaneously and of itself. 
Nothing assuredly could be more utterly destructive 
of the whole supernatural order. 

Q. What is, on these points, the doctrine of the Vatican 
Council ? 

A. For this reason the Vatican Council most justly 
decreed : " If anyone says that man cannot be raised 
by God to a knowledge and perfection which surpasses 
nature, but that he can and should, by his own efforts 
and by a constant development, attain finally to the 
possession of all truth and good, let him be anathema." * 

* De Bevel., can. 3. 



Q. You have said that the Modernists find faith in 
sense has the human intellect, then, no part in faith ? 

A. So far there has been no mention of the 
intellect. It also, according to the teaching of the 
Modernists, has its part in the act of faith. And it 
is of importance to see how. 

Q. -But did not sense, according to the Modernists, 
seem to be sufficient to give us God, Object and Author of 
faith ? 

A. In that sense of which we have frequently 
spoken, since sense is not knowledge, they say God 
indeed presents Himself to man, but in a manner so 
confused and indistinct that He can hardly be perceived 
by the believer. * 

Q. What, then, is wanting to this sense ? 

A. It is necessary that a certain light should be 
cast upon this sense, so that God may clearly stand out 
in relief and be set apart from it. 

Q. Is this the task of the intellect in the Modernist s 
act of faith ? 

A. This is the task of the intellect, whose office it 
is to reflect and to analyse ; and by means of it man 
first transforms into mental pictures the vital pheno 
mena which arise within him, and then expresses them 
in words. Hence the common saying of Modernists, 
that the religious man must think his faith. 

* Or, as the Latin may be rendered, that He can hardly or at all 
be distil) guished/rom the believer which practically comes to the 
same thing. J. F. 



Q. Can you give us the comparison which the 
Modernists employ to determine the role they attribute 
to the intellect in regard to this sense in the act of faith ? 

A. The mind, encountering this sense, throws itself 
upon it, and works in it after the manner of a painter 
who restores to greater clearness the lines of a picture 
that have been dimmed with age. The simile is that 
of one of the leaders of Modernism. 

Q. How does the intellect operate in this work of the 
formation of faith ? 

A. The operation of the mind in this work is a 
double one. 

Q. What is the first operation ? 

A. First, by a natural and spontaneous act it 
expresses its concept in a simple, popular statement. 

Q. What is the second ? 

A. Then, on reflection and deeper consideration, 
or, as they say, by elaborating its thought, it expresses 
the idea in secondary propositions, which are derived 
from the first, but are more precise and distinct. 

Q. How, then, do these formulas, the result of the action 
of the intellect upon its own thought, become dogma ? 

A. These secondary propositions, if they finally 
receive the approval of the supreme magisterium of 
the Church, constitute dogma. 


Q. We have now reached dogma and is not this one 
of the most important points for the Modernist ? 

A. Yes. One of the principal points in the* 


Modernists system (is) the origin and the nature of 

Q. In what do they place the origin of dogma ? 

A. They place the origin of dogma in those primi 
tive and simple formulas which, under a certain aspect, 
are necessary to faith ; for revelation, to be truly such, 
requires the clear knowledge of God in the conscious 
ness. But dogma itself, they apparently hold, strictly 
consists in the secondary formulas. 

Q. And now, how shall we ascertain what, according 
to the Modernists, is the nature of dogma ? 

A. To ascertain the nature of dogma, we must 
first find the relation which exists between the religious 
formulas and the religious sense. 

Q. How shall we ascertain this relation ? 

A. This will be readily perceived by anyone who 
holds that these formulas have no other purpose than 
to furnish the believer with a means of giving to himself 
an account of his faith. 

Q. What do these formulas constitute as between the 
believer and his faith ? 

A. These formulas stand midway between the 
believer and his faith : in their relation to the faith 
they are the inadequate expression of its object, and 
are usually called symbols ; in their relation to the 
believer they are mere instruments 

Q. What may one conclude from this with regard to the 
truth contained in these formulas ? 

A. That it is quite impossible to maintain that 
they absolutely contain the truth. 


Q. According to the Modernists, what are formulas, 
considered as symbols ? 

A. In so far as they are symbols, they are the 
images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious 
sense in its relation to man. 

Q. What are they, considered as instruments ? 

A. As instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, 
and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in 
his relation to the religious sense. 


Q. Are these dogmatic formulas, these symbols of the 
faith and instruments of the believer, at least invariable ? 

A. The object of the religious sense, as something 
contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety 
of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present 
itself. In like manner, he who believes can avail him 
self of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas 
which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissi 
tudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. 

Q. But is there not thus substantial change in dogma ? 

A. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution 
of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of 
sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion. 

Q. Is this substantial change of dogma not only 
possible, but even necessary ? 

A. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve 
and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the 
Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. 


Q. What is the fundamental principle from which the 
Modernists deduce the necessity of the substantial change 
of dogma ? 

A. Amongst the chief, points of their teaching is 
the following, which they deduce from the principle of 
vital immanence namely, that religious formulas, if 
they are to be really religious and not merely intellec 
tual speculations, ought to be living and to live the life 
of the religious sense. 

Q. But, since these formulas ought to live the very life 
of the religious sense, must they not be constructed with a 
view to this sense ? 

A. This is not to be understood to mean that these 
formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be 
invented for the religious sense. Their origin matters 
nothing, any more than their number or quality. 
What is necessary is that the religious sense with some 
modification when needful should vitally assimilate 

Q. What do you mean by this vital assimilation by 
the sense ? 

A. In other words, it is necessary that the primi 
tive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart ; 
and, similarly, the subsequent work from which are 
brought forth the secondary formulas must proceed 
under the guidance of the heart. 

Q. How does the necessity of this vital assimilation 
entail the substantial change of dogma ? 

A. These formulas, in order to be living, should 
be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him 
who believes. Wherefore, if for any reason this adapta- 


tion should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning, 
and accordingly need to be changed. 

Q. But, then, in what consideration do Modernists 
hold dogmatic formulas ? 

A. In view of the fact that the character and lot 
of dogmatic formulas are so unstable, it is no wonder 
that Modernists should regard them so lightly and 
with such open disrespect. 

Q. What do they unceasingly exalt ? 

A. They have no consideration or praise for any 
thing but the religious sense and the religious life. 

Q. What, with regard to the Church, is the attitude of 
Modernists in the matter of dogmatic formulas ? 

A. With consummate audacity, they criticize the 
Church, as having strayed from the true path by failing 
to distinguish between the religious and moral sense of 
formulas and their surface meaning, and by clinging 
vainly and tenaciously to meaningless formulas, while 
religion itself is allowed to go to ruin. 

Q. What final judgment must we pass on the Modern 
ists concerning dogmatic truth ? 

A. " Blind " they are, and " leaders of the blind," 
puffed up with the proud name of science, they have 
reached that pitch of folly at which they pervert the 
eternal concept of truth and the true meaning of 
religion ; in introducing a new system in which " they 
are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked 
passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some 
solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and 


apostolic traditions, they embrace other and vain, 
futile, uncertain doctrines, unapproved by the Church, 
on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they 
can base and maintain truth itself." * 




Q. Thus far We have considered the Modernist as a 
philosopher. Now, if We proceed to consider him as a 
believer, and seek to know how the believer, according to 
Modernism, is marked off from the philosopher, what 
must be done ? 

A. It must be observed that, although the philo 
sopher recognizes the reality of the divine as the object 
of faith, still, this reality is not to be found by him but 
in the heart of the believer, as an object of feeling and 
affirmation, and therefore confined within the sphere 
of phenomena ; but the question as to whether in itself 
it exists outside that feeling and affirmation is one 
which the philosopher passes over and neglects. For 
the Modernist believer, on the contrary, it is an estab 
lished and certain fact that the reality of the divine 
does really exist in itself and quite independently of 
the person who believes in it. 

Q. And now we ask on what foundation this asser 
tion of the believer rests. 

* Gregory XVI., Encycl. Singulari Not, 7 Kal. Jul., 1834. 


A. He answers : In the personal experience of the 

Q. Is it in that, then, that the Modernists differ from 
the Rationalists ? 

A. On this head the Modernists differ from the 
Rationalists, only to fall into the views of the Protes 
tants and pseudo-Mystics. 

Q. Plow do they explain that, through individual 
experience, they arrive at the certitude of the existence of 
God in Himself ? 

A. The following is their manner of stating the 
question : In the religious sense one must recognize a 
kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in 
immediate contact with the reality of God. 

Q. They attain to God without any intermediary. 
But what kind of certitude do they pretend to have through 
this intuition of the heart ? 

A. Such a persuasion of God s existence and His 
action both within and without man as far to exceed 
any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the 
existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that 
surpasses all rational experience. 

Q. // that is the case, whence comes it that there are 
men who deny the existence of God ? 

A. If this experience is denied by some, like the 
Rationalists, they say that this arises from the fact 
that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in 
the moral state necessary to produce it. 

Q. Is it, then, this individual experience which makes 
the believer ? 


A. It is this experience which makes the person 
who acquires it to be properly and truly a believer. 

Q. But is not all that contrary to the Catholic faith ? 

A. How far this position is removed from that of 
Catholic teaching ! We have already seen how its 
fallacies have been condemned by the Vatican Council. 
Later on we shall see how these errors, combined with 
those which we have already mentioned, open wide the 
way to Atheism. 

Q. According to such principles, does it not seem that 
the Modernists must conclude that all religions are true ? 

A. Evidently ; given this doctrine of experience 
united with that of symbolism, every religion, even 
that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is 
to prevent such experiences from being found in any 
religion ? In fact, that they are so is maintained by 
not a few. On what grounds can Modernists deny the 
truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam ? 

Q. Do they claim a monopoly of true experiences for 
Catholics alone ? 

A. Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually 
maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all 
religions are true. 

Q. In fact, is not that an absolutely rigorous con 
clusion in their system ? 

A. That they cannot feel otherwise is obvious. 
For on what ground, according to their theories, could 
falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever ? 
Certainly it would either be on account of the falsity 
of the religious sense, or on account of the falsity of 
the formula pronounced by the mind. Now, the 


religious sense, although it may be more perfect or 
less perfect, is always one and the same ; and the 
intellectual formula, in order to be true, has but to 
respond to the religions sense and to the believer, what 
ever be the intellectual capacity of the latter. 

Q. But do the Modernists not maintain the superiority 
of the Catholic religion ? 

A. In the conflict between different religions the 
most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic 
has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it 
deserves with more reason the name of Christian 
because it corresponds more fully with the origins of 
Christianity. No one will find it unreasonable that 
these consequences flow from the premisses. 

Q. Do not Catholics, and even priests, act as though 
they admitted such enormities ? 

A. What is most amazing is that there are 
Catholics and priests who, We would fain believe, 
abhor such enormities, and yet act as if they fully 
approved of them. For they lavish such praise and 
bestow such public honour on the teachers of these 
errors, as to convey the belief that their admiration is 
not meant merely for the persons, who are perhaps 
not devoid of a certain merit, but rather for the sake 
of the errors which these persons openly profess, and 
which they do all in their power to propagate. 


Q. Do not the Modernists extend the principle of 
religious experience also to tradition ? 

A. There is yet another element in this part of 


their teaching which is absolutely contrary to Catholic 
truth. For what is laid down as to experience is also 
applied with destructive effect to tradition, which has 
always been maintained by the Catholic Church. 

Q. What, then, do the Modernists understand by 
tradition ? 

A. Tradition, as understood by the Modernists, is 
a communication with others of an original experience, 
through preaching, by means of the intellectual 

Q. What virtue do they attribute to this intellectual 
formula in relation to preaching ? 

A. To this formula, in addition to its representa 
tive value, they attribute a species of suggestive efficacy. 

Q. And on whom does this suggestive virtue act ? 

A. Firstly, in the believer by stimulating the 
religious sense, should it happen to have grown sluggish, 
and by renewing the experience once acquired ; and, 
secondly, in those who do not yet believe, by awaken 
ing in them for the first time the religious sense and 
producing the experience* 

Q. Is it thus, then, that religious experience engenders 
tradition ? 

A. In this way is religious experience spread 
abroad among the nations ; and not merely among 
contemporaries by preaching, but among future genera 
tions both by books and by oral transmission from one 
to another. 

Q. By what test do the Modernists judge of the truth 
of a tradition ? 


A. Sometimes this communication of religious 
experience takes root and thrives, at other times it 
withers at once and dies. For the Modernists, to live 
is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are 
one and the same thing. 

Q. // every religion that is living is true, what further 
conclusion must we come to ? 

A. That all existing religions are equally true, for 
otherwise they would not survive. 


Q. Can we now have somi idea, of the relations which 
the Modernists establish between faith and science, 
including, under this latter term, history ? 

A. We have proceeded sufficiently far to have 
before us enough, and more than enough, to enable us 
to see what are the relations which Modernists establish 
between faith and science including, as they are wont 
to do, under that name, history. 

Q. What difference do they make between the object 
of the one and of the other ? 

A. In the first place it is to be held that the 
object-matter of the one is quite extraneous to and 
separate from the object-matter of the other. For 
faith occupies itself solely with something which 
science declares to be for it unknowable. Hence each 
has a separate scope assigned to it : science is entirely 
concerned with phenomena, into which faith does not 
at all enter ; faith, on the contrary, concerns itself 
with the divine, which is entirely unknown to science. 


Q. Then, according to them, no conflict is possible 
between faith and science ? 

A. It is contended that there can never be any 
dissension between faith and science, for if each keeps 
on its own ground they can never meet, and therefore 
never can be in contradiction. 

Q. And if it be objected that in the visible world there 
are some things which appertain to faith, such as the 
human life of Christ ? 

A. The Modernists reply by denying this. 

Q. How can they deny it ? 

A. They say : Though such things come within 
the category of phenomena, still, in as far as they are 
lived by faith, and in the way already described have 
been by faith transfigured and disfigured, they have 
been removed from the world of sense and transferred 
into material for the divine. 

Q- Hence, should it be further asked whether Christ 
has wrought real miracles, and made real prophecies, 
whether He rose tru j y from the dead and ascended into 
heaven, ivhat do they answer ? 

A. The answer of agnostic science will be in the 

The answer of faith in the affirmative. 

Q. But is not iliat a flagrant contradiction between 
science and faith ? 

A.- There will not be, on that account, any conflict 
between them. For it will be denied by the philo 
sopher as a philosopher speaking to philosophers and 
considering Christ only in His historical reality ; and 


it will be affirmed by the believer as a believer speaking 
to believers and considering the life of Christ as lived 
again by the faith and in the faith. 

Q. Faith and science acting thus in entirely separate 
fields, will there be, according to the Modernists, no 
subordination of the one to the other ? 

A. It would be a great mistake to suppose that, 
according to these theories, one is allowed to believe 
that faith and science are entirely independent of each 
other. On the side of science that is indeed quite 
true and correct, but it is quite otherwise with regard 
to faith, which is subject to science. 

Q. Faith subject to science ! But on what ground ? 
A. Not on one, but on three grounds. 

Q. According to the Modernists, what is the first 
ground ? 

A. In the first place it must be observed that in 
every religious fact, when one takes away the divine 
reality and the experience of it which the believer 
possesses, everything else, and especially the religious 
formulas, belongs to the sphere of phenomena, and 
therefore falls under the control of science. Let the 
believer go out of the world if he will, but so long as 
he remains in it, whether he like it or not, he cannot 
escape from the laws, the observation, the judgments 
of science and of history. 

Q. What is the second ground of the subordination 
of faith to science ? 

A. Further, although it is contended that God is 
the object of faith alone, the statement refers only to 
the divine reality, not to the idea of God. The latter 


also is subject to science, which, while it philosophizes 
in what is called the logical order, soars also to the 
absolute and the ideal. It is, therefore, the right of 
philosophy and of science to form its knowledge con 
cerning the idea of God, to direct it in its evolution, 
and to purify it of any extraneous elements which may 
have entered into it. Hence we have the Modernist 
axiom that the religious evolution ought to be brought 
into accord with the moral and intellectual, or, as one 
whom they regard as their leader has expressed it, 
ought to be subject to it. 

Q. What is the third ground ? 

A. Finally, man does not suffer a dualism to exist 
in himself, and the believer therefore feels within him 
an impelling need so to harmonize faith with science, 
that it may never oppose the general conception which 
science sets forth concerning the universe. 

Q. Than, according to the Modernist doctrine, faith 
is in bondage to science ? 

A. Yes. It is evident that science is to be 
entirely independent of faith, while, on the other hand, 
and notwithstanding that they are supposed to be 
strangers to each other, faith is made subject to science. 

Q. How did Pius IX. and Gregory IX. stigmatize 
such doctrines ? 

A. All this is in formal opposition to the teaching 
of Our Predecessor, Pius IX., where he lays it down 
that : " In matters of religion it is the duty of philo 
sophy not to command, but to serve ; not to prescribe 
what is to be believed, but to embrace what is to be 
believed with reasonable obedience ; not to scrutinize 




the depths of the mysteries of God, but to venerate 
them devoutly and humbly."* 

The Modernists completely invert the parts ; and 
to them may be applied the words which another of 
Our Predecessors, Gregory IX., addressed to some 
theologians of his time : " Some among you, puffed 
up like bladders with the spirit of vanity, strive by 
profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the 
Fathers, twisting the meaning of the Sacred Text . . . 
to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not 
for the profit of their hearer, but to make a show of 
science. . . . These men, led away by various and 
strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail, and force 
the queen to serve the handmaid." f 


Q. Is the conduct of Catholic Modernists in keeping 
with their principles ? 

A. This will appear more clearly to anybody who 
studies the conduct of Modernists, which is in perfect 
harmony with their teachings. In their writings and 
addresses they seem not unfrequently to advocate 
doctrines which are contrary one to the other, so that 
one would be disposed to regard their attitude as double 
and doubtful. But this is done deliberately and 
advisedly, and the reason of it is to be found in their 
opinion as to the mutual separation of science and 
faith. Thus, in their books one finds some things 
which might well be approved by a Catholic, but on 
turning over the page one is confronted by other 

* Brief to the Bishop of Wratislau, June 15, 1857. 
| Ep. ad Magistros theol. Paris, non. Jul., 1223. 


things which might well have been dictated by a 

Q. Do they not play a double part in matters of 
history ? 

A. When they write history they make no mention 
of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the 
pulpit they profess it clearly. Again, when they are 
dealing with history, they take no account of the 
Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechize 
the people they cite them respectfully. 

Q. And in matters of exegesis ? 

A. In the same way they draw their distinctions 
between exegesis which is theological and pastoral and 
exegesis which is scientific and historical. 

Q. Is this done also in other scientific work ? 

A. So, too, when they treat of philosophy, history, 
and criticism, acting on the principle that science in 
no way depends upon faith, they feel no especial 
horror in treading in the footsteps of Luther,* and are 
wont to display a manifold contempt for Catholic 
doctrines, for the Holy Fathers, for the (Ecumenical 
Councils, for the ecclesiastical Magisterium ; and 
should they be taken to task for this, they complain 
that they are being deprived of their liberty. 

Q. What is, consequently, the conduct of Catholic 
Modernists ivith regard to the Church s magisterium ? 

A. Maintaining the theory that faith must be 

* Prop. 29, condemned by Leo X., Bull, Exsurge Domine, 
May 16, 1520 : It is permissible to us to invalidate the authority of 
Councils, freely to gainsay their acts, to judge of their decrees, and 
confidently to assert whatever seems to us to be true, whether it 
has been approved or reprobated bv any Council whatsoever. 



subject to science, they continuously and openly rebuke 
the Church on the ground that she resolutely refuses 
to submit and accommodate her dogmas to the opinions 
of philosophy. 

Q. As to them, how do they treat Catholic theology ? 

A. They, on their side, having for this purpose 
blotted out the old theology, endeavour to introduce 
a new theology which shall support the aberrations of 



Q. At this point the way is opened for us to consider 
the Modernists in the theological arena a difficult task, 
yet one that may be disposed of briefly. What, then, does 
their system seek to do ? 

A. It is a question of effecting the conciliation 

of faith with science, but always by making the one 
subject to the other. 

Q What is the Modernist system ? 

A. In this matter the Modernist theologian takes 

exactly the same principles which we have seen em 
ployed by the Modernist philosopher the principles 
of immanence and symbolism and applies them to the 

Q. What is the process ? 

A. The process is an extremely simple one. The 


philosopher has declared : The principle of faith is 
immanent ; the believer has added : This principle is 
God ; and the theologian draws the conclusion : God 
is immanent in man. Thus we have theological im 

So, too, the philosopher regards it as certain that 
the representations of the object of faith are merely 
symbolical ; the believer has likewise affirmed that 
the object of faith is God in Himself ; and the theologian 
proceeds to affirm that : The representations of the 
divine reality are Symbolical. And thus we have 
theological symbolism. 

Q. What judgment must be passed on this theological 
immanence and symbolism ? 

A. These errors are truly of the gravest kind, and 
the pernicious character of both will be seen clearly 
from an examination of their consequences. 

Q. To begin with theological symbolism, what conse 
quences follow from it ? 

A. To begin with symbolism, since symbols are 
but symbols in regard to their objects, and only 
instruments in regard to the believer, two consequences 

Q. What is the first consequence ? 

A. It is necessary, first of all, according to the 
teachings of the Modernists, that the believer do not 
lay too much stress on the formula as formula, but 
avail himself of it only for the purpose of uniting 
himself to the absolute truth which the formula", at 
once reveals and conceals, that is to say, endeavours 
to express, but without ever succeeding in doing so. 


Q. What is the second consequence ? 

A. They would also have the believer make use 
of the formulas only in so far as they are helpful to 
him ; for they are given to be a help, and not a hin 

Q. Must, then, the believer employ the formulas as 
he finds them convenient ? 

A. Yes, answers the Modernist, but with proper 
regard for the social respect due to formulas which 
the public magisterium has deemed suitable for 
expressing the common consciousness, until such time 
as the same magisterium shall provide otherwise. 

Q. And, as regards theological immanence, what is 
really the meaning of the Modernists ? 

A. Concerning immanence, it is not easy to deter 
mine what Modernists precisely mean by it, for their 
own opinions on the subject vary. 

Q. What are these different opinions of the Modern 
ists, and their consequences ? 

A. Some understand it in the sense that God 
working in man is more intimately present in him 
than man is even in himself, and this conception, if 
properly understood, is irreproachable. Others hold 
that the divine action is one with the action of nature, 
as the action of the first cause is one with the action 
of the secondary cause ; and this would destroy the 
supernatural order. Others, finally, explain it in ^ 
way which savours of Pantheism, and this, in truth ; is 
the sense which best fits in with the rest of their 




Q. With this principle of immanence is there not, 
according to the Modernists, another one connected ? 

A. With this principle of immanence is connected 
another, which may be called the principle of divine 

Q. In what does this principle differ from the first ? 

A. It differs from the first in much the same way 
as the private experience differs from the experience 
transmitted by tradition. 

Q. That is not very clear. Will you not explain this 
doctrine ? 

A. An example illustrating what is meant will be 
found in the Church and the Sacraments. 

Q. What do they say about the institution of the 
Church and the Sacraments ? 

A. The Church and the Sacraments, according to 
the Modernists, are not to be regarded as having been 
instituted by Christ Himself. 

Q. But how is that ? How is the immediate institu 
tion by Christ of the Church and the Sacraments opposed 
to the principles of the Modernists ? 

A. This is barred by Agnosticism, which recognizes 
in Christ nothing more than a man whose religious 
consciousness has been, like that of all men, formed by 
degrees ; it is also barred by the law of immanence, 
which rejects what they call external application ; it 
is further barred by the law of evolution, which requires 
for the development of the germs time and a certain 


series of circumstances ; it is, finally, barred by history, 
which shows that such, in fact, has been the course of 

Q. In that case the Church and the Sacraments have 
not been instituted by Christ ? 

A. Still it is to be held, they affirm, that both 
Church and Sacraments have been founded mediately 
by Christ. 

Q. But how ? That is, how do the Modernist theo 
logians endeavour to prove this divine origin of the 
Church and the Sacraments ? 

A. In this way : All Christian consciences were, 
they affirm, in a manner virtually included in the con 
science of Christ, as the plant is included in the seed. 
But as the branches live the life of the seed, so, too, all 
Christians are to be said to live the life of Christ. But 
the life of Christ, according to faith, is divine, and 
so, too, is the life of Christians. And if this life pro 
duced, in the course of ages, both the Church and the 
Sacraments, it is quite right to say that their origin is 
from Christ, and is divine. 

Q. Do the Modernist theologians proceed in the same 
way to establish the divinity of the Holy Scriptures and 
of dogmas ? 

A. In the same way they make out that the Holy 
Scriptures and the dogmas are divine. 

Q. Is this the ivhole of the Modernist theology ? 

A. In this the Modernist theology may be said to 
reach its completion. A slender provision, in truth, 
but more than enough for the theologian who professes 


that the conclusions of science, whatever they may be, 
must always be accepted. ! No one will have any diffi 
culty in making the application of these theories to the 
other points with which We propose to deal. * 




Q. Thus far We have touched upon the origin and 
nature of faith. But as faith has many branches, and 
chief among them the Church, dogma, ivorship, devotions, 
and the books which we call " sacred," it concerns us to 
know what do the Modernists teach concerning them ? 

A. To begin with dogma (We have already indi 
cated its origin and nature), according to them, 
dogma is born of a sort of impulse or necessity by 
virtue of which the believer elaborates his thought so as 
to render it clearer to his own conscience*]- and that of 

* The Sovereign Pontiff seems here to declare that it were super 
fluous to follow the believer and the theologian as well as the 
philosopher in what concerns the branches of the faith, as he has 
done for the faith itself. That is why, after putting under our eyes 
the hand-baggage of Modernist theology, and showing us how 
easy it is to follow up the parallelism, he will limit himself, except 
for some passing indications, to setting forth the Modernist philo 
sophy concerning the branches of the faith. He leaves it to us to 
apply the principles of theology. AUTHOR. 

f The Latin word conscientia denotes all kinds of conscious 
ness, including that which is concerned with conduct, and is called 
conscience. Here, perhaps, the word had better be rendered con 
sciousness. J. F. 


Q. In what does this elaboration consist ? 

A. This elaboration consists entirely in the pro 
cess of investigating and refining the primitive mental 
formula . 

Q. Is this elaboration a matter of reasoning and 
logic ? 

A. No, they reply; not indeed in itself and accord 
ing to any logical explanation, but according to circum 
stances, or vitally, as the Modernists somewhat less 
intelligibly describe it. 


Q. What is it that this elaboration produces, according 

to the Modernist theologians ? 

A. Around this primitive formula secondary for 
mulas, as We have already indicated, gradually 
come to be formed, and these subsequently grouped 
into one body, or one doctrinal construction, and 
further sanctioned by the public magisterium as 
responding to the common consciousness, are called 

Q. Do the Modernists distinguish dogma from theo 
logical speculations ? 

A. Dogma is to be carefully distinguished from 
the speculations of theologians. 

Q. Of what use are these theological speculations ? 

A. Although not alive with the life of dogma, 
these are not without their utility as serving both to 
harmonize religion with science and to remove oppo 
sition between them, and to illumine and defend 
religion from without, and it may be even to prepare 
the matter for future dogma. 



Q. What is the theological doctrine of the Modernists 
concerning worship and the Sacraments ? 

A. Concerning worship there would not be much 
to be said, were it not that under this head are com 
prised the Sacraments, concerning which the Modernist 
errors are of the most serious character. 

Q. Whence, according to them, does worship spring ? 

A. For them worship is* the resultant of a double 
impulse or need ; for, as we have seen, everything in 
their system is explained by inner impulses or neces 

Q. What is this double need of which the Modernist 
theologians speak ? 

A. The first need is that of giving some sensible 
manifestation to religion ; the second is that of propa 
gating f it, which could not be done without some 
sensible form and consecrating acts, and these are 
called Sacraments. 

Q. What do the Modernists mean by Sacraments ? 

A. For the Modernists, Sacraments are bare 
symbols or signs, though not devoid of a certain 

* The Official Translation has, For them the Sacraments are, 
etc. a particular case, whereas the Latin has Cultum in 
general. J. F. 

f This word is used in the United States ; and the French and 
Italian versions also speak here of propagating, and not of ex 
pressing religion which were to repeat the idea of the preceding 
phrase. J. F. 


Q. To what do the. Modernist theologians compare 
the efficacy of the Sacraments ? 

A. It is an efficacy, they tell us, like that of 
certain phrases vulgarly described as having caught 
the popular ear, inasmuch as they have the power of 
putting certain leading ideas into circulation, and of 
making a marked impression upon the mind. What 
the phrases are to the ideas, that the Sacraments are 
to the religious sense. 

Q. Are they only that ? 

A. That, and nothing more. The Modernists 
would express their mind more clearly were they to 
affirm that the Sacraments are instituted solely to 
foster the faith ; but this is condemned by the Council 
of Trent : " If anyone say that these Sacraments are 
instituted solely to foster the faith, let him be 
anathema." * 


Q. What, for the Modernist theologians, are the 
Sacred Scriptures ? 

A. We have already touched upon the nature and 
origin of the Sacred Books. According to the prin 
ciples of the Modernists, they may be rightly described 
as a summary of experiences, not, indeed, of the kind 
that may now and again come to anybody, but those 
extraordinary and striking experiences which are the 
possession of every religion. 

Q. But does this description apply also to our Sacred 
Scriptures ? 

* Sess. VII., de Sacramentis in genere, can. 5. 


A. This is precisely what they teach about our 
books of the Old and New Testament. 

Q. Experience is always concerned with the present ; 
but the Sacred Scriptures contain the history of the past 
and prophecies of the future. How, then, can the 
Modernists call them summaries of experience ? 

A. To suit their own theories they note with re 
markable ingenuity that, although experience is some 
thing belonging to the present, still it may draw its 
material in like manner from the past and the future, 
inasmuch as the believer by memory lives the past over 
again after the manner of the present, and lives the 
future already by anticipation. This explains how 
it is that the historical and apocalyptic books are 
included among the Sacred Writings. 

Q. Are not the Sacred Scriptures the word of God ? 

A. God does indeed speak in these books through 
the medium of the believer, but, according to Modernist 
theology, only by immanence and vital permanence. 

Q. What, then, becomes of inspiration ? 
A. Inspiration, they reply, is in nowise dis 
tinguished from that impulse which stimulates the 
believer to reveal the faith that is in him by words or 
writing, except perhaps by its vehemence. It is 
something like that which happens in poetical in 
spiration, of which it has been said : " There is a God 
in us, and when He stirreth He sets us afire." It is 
in this sense that God is said to be the origin of the 
inspiration of the Sacred Books. 

Q. Do they say that inspiration is general ? And what 
of inspiration, from the Catholic point of view ? 


A. The Modernists affirm concerning this inspira 
tion, that there is nothing in the Sacred Books which is 
devoid of it. In this respect some might be disposed 
to consider them as more orthodox than certain writers 
in recent times who somewhat restrict inspiration, as, 
for instance, in what have been put forward as so- 
called tacit citations. But in all this we have mere 
verbal conjuring ; for if we take the Bible according to 
the standards of agnosticism, namely, as a human 
work, made by men for men, albeit the theologian is 
allowed to proclaim that it is divine by immanence 
what room is there left in it for inspiration ? The 
Modernists assert a general inspiration of the Sacred 
Books, but they admit no inspiration in the Catholic 


Q. A wider field for comment is opened when we come 
to what the Modernist school has imagined to be the 
nature of the Church. 1 What, according to them, is the 
origin of the Church ? 

A. They begin with the supposition that the 
Church has its birth in a double need : first, the need of 
the individual believer to communicate his faith to 
others, especially if he has had some original and 
special experience ; and, secondly, when the faith has 
become common to many, the need of the collectivity 
to form itself into a society and to guard, promote, and 
propagate the common good. 

Q. What, then, is the Church ? 

A. It is the product of the collective conscience, 


that is to say. of the association of individual con 
sciences which, by virtue of the principle of vital 
permanence, depend all on one first believer, who for 
Catholics is Christ. 

Q. Whence comes in the Catholic Church, according 
to the Modernist theologians, disciplinary, doctrinal, and 
liturgical authority ? 

A. Every society needs a directing authori: 
guide its members towards the common end. to foster 
prudently the elements of cohesion, which in a religious 
society are doctrine and worship. Hence the triple 
authority in the Catholic Church, disciplinary, dogmatic, 

Q. Whence do they gather the nature and lie rights 
and duties of this authority ? 

A. * The nature of this authority is to be gathered 
from its origin, and its rights and duties from its 

Q. What do the Modernist theologians say of the 
Church s authority in the past ? 

A. In past times it was a common error that 
authority came to the Church from without, that is 
to say. directly from God ; and it was then rightly 
held to be autocratic. 

Q.And what of the, Church s authority to-day ? 

A. * This conception has now grown obsolete : for 
in the same way as the Church is a vital emanation of 
the collectivity of consciences, so, too. authority 
emanates vitally from the Church itself. 

Q. Does the Church s authority, then, according to 


the Modernist theologians, depend on the collective con 
science ? 

A. Authority, like the Church, has its origin in 
the religious conscience, and, that being so, is subject 
to it. 

Q. And if the Church denies this dependence, what 
does it become, according to this doctrine ? 

A. Should it disown this dependence, it becomes 
a tyranny. 

Q. But is not that equivalent to establishing popular 
government in the Church ? 

A. We are living in an age when the sense of 
liberty has reached its highest development. In the 
civil order the public conscience has introduced 
popular government. Now, there is in man only one 
conscience, just as there is only one life. It is for the 
ecclesiastical authority, therefore, to adopt a demo 
cratic form, unless it wishes to provoke and foment an 
intestine conflict in the consciences of mankind. 

Q. The Church not yielding to this Modernist doc 
trine, what will happen to the Church and religion 
alike ? 

A. The penalty of refusal is disaster, they say. 
For it is madness to think that the sentiment of 
liberty, as it now obtains, can recede. Were it forcibly 
pent up and held in bonds, the more terrible would be 
its outburst, sweeping away at once both Church and 

: Q. According to the ideas of the Modernists, what is, 
in short, their great anxiety ? 


A. Such is the situation in the minds of the 
Modernists, and their one great anxiety is, in con 
sequence, to find a way of conciliation between the 
authority of the Church and the liberty of the be 

Q. Is not the Church in relation ivith civil societies ? 

A. It is not only within her own household that 
the Church must come to terms. Besides her relations 
with those within, she has others with those who are 
outside. The Church does not occupy the world all by 
herself ; there are other societies in the world, with 
which she must necessarily have dealings and con 

Q. How, according to the Modernist theologians, are 
these relations to be determined ? 

A. The rights and duties of the Church towards 
civil societies must be determined, and determined, of 
course, by her own nature that, to wit, which the 
Modernists have already described to us. 

Q. What rules do they apply to the relations between 
Church and State ? 

A. The rules to be applied in this matter are 
clearly those which have been laid down for science 
and faith, though in the latter case the question turned 
upon the object, while in the present case we have one 
of ends. In the same way, then, as faith and science 
are alien to each other by reason of the diversity of 
their objects, Church and State are strangers by reason 
of the diversity of their ends, that of the Church being 
spiritual, while that of the State is temporal. 



QHow is it, according to the Modernists, that 
power was formerly attributed to the Church which is 
refused her to-day ? 

A Formerly it was possible to subordinate the 
temporal to the spiritual, and to speak of some ques 
tions as mixed, conceding to the Church the posit, 
of queen and mistress in all such, because the Chui 
was then regarded as having been instituted imme 
diately by God as the author of the supernatural order. 
But this doctrine is to-day repudiated alike by philc 
sophers and historians. 

Q.Do they, then, demand the separation of Church 
and State ? 

A. Yes. The State must be separated from t 
Church, and the Catholic from the citizen. 

Q._In practice what, according to them, ought to 
be the attitude of the Catholic as a citizen ? 

A - Every Catholic, from the fact that he is also a 
citizen, has the right and the duty to woi rk for the 
common good in the way he thinks best without 
troubling himself about the authority of the Church 
without g payin g any heed to its wishes its counsels, its 
orders-nay, even in spite of its rebukes. 

Q.-Has the Church, then, no right to prescribe to 
the Catholic citizen any line of action ? 

A _ For the Church to trace out and prescribe for 
the citizen any line of action, on any pretext what 
soever, is to be guilty of an abuse of autb 

O -If the Church attempts to intervene, and, con 
sequently, according to the Modernist doctrine, commits 
an abuse, what is to be done ? 


A. One is bound to protest with all one s might. 

Q. Have, these principles not been already con 
demned by the Church ? 

A. The principles from which these doctrines 
spring have been solemnly condemned by Our Pre 
decessor, Pius VI., in his Apostolic Constitution, 
Auctorem Fidei* 

Q. Is it enough for the Modernists to demand the 
separation of Church and State ? 

A. It is not enough for the Modernist school that 
the State should be separated from the Church. For 
as faith is to be subordinated to science as far as 
phenomenal elements are concerned, so, too, in tem 
poral matters the Church must be subject to the 

Q.Have they really the audacity to teach this ? 

A. This, indeed, Modernists may not say openly, 
but they are forced by the logic of their position to 
admit it. 

Q How does such an enormity follow from the 
principles of the Modernists ? 

A. Granted the principle that in temporal matters 

* Piiop 2 The proposition which maintains that power was 
given by God to the Church to be communicated to the Pastors 
who are her ministers for the salvation of souls-umlerstood in the 
sense that the Church s power of ministry and government is 
derived by the Pastors from the faithful in general-is heretical 

Further, that which maintains that the Roman PontifF 
is the ministerial Head-ex, Q the sense that the Eoman 

Pontiff receives not from Christ in the person of Blessed Peter, 
but from the Church, the ministerial power with which, as suc 
cessor of Peter, true Vicar of Christ, and Head over the whole 
ch he is invested throughout the Universal Church is 



the State possesses the sole power, it will follow that 
when the believer, not satisfied with merely internal 
acts of religion, proceeds to external acts such, for 
instance, as the reception or administration of the 
Sacraments these will fall under the control of 
the State. What will then become of ecclesiastical 
authority, which can only be exercised by external 
acts ? Obviously it will be completely under the 
dominion of the State. 

Q. But, then, does it not seem that to be free from this 
yoke of the State, there would be, if Modernists had their 
way, no longer any possibility of having external worship, 
or even any sort of religious fellowship ? 

A. It is this inevitable consequence which urges 
many among liberal Protestants to reject all external 
worship nay, all external religious fellowship and 
leads them to advocate what they call individual 

Q. The Modernists have not yet got to that point ; 
but how are they preparing men s minds for it, and 
what do they say about the Church s disciplinary 
authority ? 

A. If the Modernists have not yet openly proceeded 
so far, they ask the Church in the meanwhile to follow 
of her own accord in the direction in which they urge 
her, and to adapt herself to the forms of the State. 
Such are their ideas about disciplinary authority. 

Q. And of what kind are their opinions on doctrinal 
authority ? 

A. Much more evil and pernicious are their 
opinions on doctrinal and dogmatic authority. 


Q. What is their conception of the magisterium of 
the Church ? 

A. The following is their conception of the magis 
terium of the Church : No religious society, they say, 
can be a real unit unless the religious conscience of 
its members be one, and also the formula which they 
adopt. But this double unity requires a kind of 
common mind, whose office is to find and determine the 
formula that corresponds best with the common con 
science ; and it must have, moreover, an authority 
sufficient to enable it to impose on the community the 
formula which has been decided upon. From the 
combination and, as it were, fusion of these two 
elements, the common mind which draws up tho 
formula and tho authority which imposes it, arises, 
according to the Modernists, the notion of the ecclesi 
astical magisterium. 

Q. That is democracy pure and simple, is it not, and 
the subordination of the teaching authority to the judgment 
of the people ? 

A. They avow it and say, as this magisterium 
springs, in its last analysis, from the individual con 
sciences, and possesses its mandate of public utility 
for their benefit, it necessarily follows that the eccle 
siastical magisterium must bo dependent upon them, 
and should therefore be made to bow to the popular 

Q. Do the Modernist theologians, then, accuse the 
Church of abusing her magisterium ? 

A. To prevent individual consciences from ex 
pressing freely and openly tho impulses they feel, to 
hinder criticism from urging forward dogma in the 


path of its necessary evolution, they say, is not a 
legitimate use but an abuse of a power given for the 
public weal. 

Q. Is the Church supreme in the exercise of the 
authority which the Modernists do concede to her ? 

A. No. A duo method and measure must be 
observed in the exercise of authority. To condemn 
and prescribe a work without the knowledge of the 
author, without hearing his explanations, without dis 
cussion, is something approaching to tyranny. 

Q- In short, ivhat must be done to please these 

Modernist theologians ? 

A. Here again it is a question of finding a way of 
reconciling the full rights of authority on the one 
hand and those of liberty on the other. 

Q. In the meantime what must the Catholic do, 
according to them ? 

A. In the meantime the proper course for the 
Catholic will be to proclaim publicly his profound 
respect for authority, while never ceasing to follow his 
own judgment. 

Q. In revolt as they are against the authority of the 
Church, do the Modernist theologians at least accord to 
the Church the right to a certain solemnity of worship and 
a certain exterior splendour ? 

A. Their general direction for the Church is as 
follows : that the ecclesiastical authority, since its 
end is entirely spiritual, should strip itself of that 
external pomp which adorns it in the eyes of the 
public. In this they forget that, while religion is for 


the soul, it is not exclusively for the soul, and that the 
honour paid to authority is reflected back on Christ 
who instituted it. 


Q. Have we considered the entire doctrine of the 
Modernist theologians ? 

A. To conclude this whole question of faith and 
its various branches, we have still to consider what the 
Modernists have to say about the development of the 
one and the other. 

Q. How do they pass to the principal point in their 
system ? 

A. First of all, they lay down the general prin 
ciple that in a living religion everything is subject to 
change, and must in fact be changed. In this way 
they pass to what is practically their principal doctrine, 
namely, evolution* 

Q. According to the Modernists, what in theology is 
subject to evolution ? 

A. To the laws of evolution everything is subject 
v \,der penalty of death dogma, Church, worship, the 
Books we revere as Sacred, even faith itself. 

Q. Is that the general principle ? 

A. Yes ; and the enunciation of this principle 
will not be a matter of surprise to anyone who bears in 
mind what the Modernists have had to say about each 
of these subjects. 

Q. How do the Modernists apply the principle of 


evolution and put its laws into effect ? And first, with 
regard to faith, what was its primitive form ? 

A. Having laid down this law of evolution, the 
Modernists themselves teach us how it operates. And 
first with regard to faith. The primitive form of 
faith, they tell us, was rudimentary and common to all 
men alike, for it had its origin in human nature and 
human life. 

Q. How, according to the Modernists, did faith 
progress ? 

A. Vital evolution brought with it progress, not 
by the accretion of new and purely adventitious forms 
from without, but by an increasing perfusion of the 
religious sense into the conscience. 

Q. What kind of progress was there in faith ? 

A. The progress was of two kinds : negative, by 
the elimination of all extraneous elements, such, for 
example, as those derived from the family or nation 
ality ; and positive, by that intellectual and moral 
refining of man, by means of which the idea of the 
divine became fuller and clearer, while the religious 
sense became more acute. 


Q. To what causes must one have recourse to explain 
this progress of faith ? 

A. For the progress of faith the same causes are 
to be assigned as those which are adduced above to 
explain its origin. But to them must bo added those 


extraordinary men whom we call prophets, of whom 
Christ was the greatest. 

Q. How, as Modernist theologians understand it, did 
these extraordinary men contribute to progress in faith ? 

A. Both because in their lives and their words 
there was something mysterious which faith attributed 
to the Divinity, and because it fell to their lot to have 
new and original experiences fully in harmony with the 
religious needs of their time. 

Q. To what especially do the Modernists attribute the 
progress of faith ? 

A. The progress of dogma is due chiefly to the 
fact that obstacles to faith have to be surmounted, 
enemies have to be vanquished, and objections have 
to be refuted. Add to this a perpetual striving to 
penetrate ever more profoundly into those things 
which are contained in the mysteries of faith. 

Q. Explain all this to us by an example how, 
according to the Modernists, did men come to proclaim 
the divinity of Christ ? 

A. Thus, putting aside other examples, it is 
found to have happened in the case of Christ : in Him 
that divine something which faith recognized in Him 
was slowly and gradually expanded in such a way that 
He was at last held to be God. 

Q. What has been the principal factor in the evolu 
tion of worship ? 

A. The chief stimulus of the evolution of worship 
consists in the need of accommodation to the manners 
and customs of peoples, as well as the need of availing 


itself of the value which certain acts have acquired 
by usage. 

Q. What has been the factor of evolution in the 
Church ? 

A. Finally, evolution in the Church itself is fed 
by the need of adapting itself to historical conditions 
and of harmonizing itself with existing forms of 

Q. That is evolution in detail. What is, in the 
system of the Modernists, its essential basis ? 

A. Such is their view with regard to each. And 
here, before proceeding further, We wish to draw 
attention to this whole theory of necessities or needs, 
for beyond all that We have seen, it is, as it were, the 
base and foundation of that famous method which they 
describe as historical. 

Q. In this theory of needs have we the entire Modernist 
doctrine on evolution ? 

A. Although evolution is urged on by needs or 
necessities, yet, if controlled by these alone, it would 
easily overstep the boundaries of tradition, and thus, 
separated from its primitive vital principle, would 
make for ruin instead of progress. 

Q. What, then, must be added to render complete the 
idea of the Modernists ? 

A. By those who study more closely the ideas 
of the Modernists, evolution is described as a 
resultant from the conflict of two forces, one of 
them tending towards progress, the other towards 


Q. What, in the Church, is the conserving force ? 

A. The conserving force exists in the Church, and 
is found in tradition ; tradition is represented by 
religious authority. 

Q. How does religious authority represent this con 
serving force ? 

A. It represents this both by right and in fact. 
For by right it is in the very nature of authority to 
protect tradition ; and in fact, since authority, raised 
as it is above the contingencies of life, feels hardly, or 
not at all, the spurs of progress. 

Q. Where is found the progressive force ? 

A. The progressive force, on the contrary, which 
responds to the inner needs, lies in the individual con 
sciences and works in them, especially in such of 
them as are in more close and intimate contact with 

Q. Then, do Modernists place the progressive force 
outside the hierarchy ? 

A. Undoubtedly they do. Already we observe 
the introduction of that most pernicious doctrine 
which would make of the laity the factor of progress 
in the Church. 

Q. By what combination of the conservative and the 
progressive force are wrought, according to the Modernists, 
modifications and progress in the Church ? 

A. It is by a species of covenant and compromise 
between these two forces of conservation and progress 
that is to say, between authority and individual 


consciences that changes and advances take place. 
The individual consciences, or some of them, act on 
the collective conscience, which brings pressure to 
bear on the depositaries of authority to make terms 
and to keep to them. 


Q. What, then, must the Modernists think when they 
are reprimanded or punished by religious authority ? 

A. With all this in mind, one understands how it 
is that the Modernists express astonishment when they 
are reprimanded or punished. What is imputed to 
them as a fault they regard as a sacred duty. They 
understand the needs of consciences better than any 
one else, since they come into closer touch with thorn 
than does the ecclesiastical authority nay, they 
embody them, so to speak, in themselves. Hence for 
them to speak and to write publicly is a bounden duty. 
Let authority rebuke them if it pleases they have 
their own conscience on their side, and an intimate 
experience which tells them with certainty that what 
they deserve is not blame, but praise. 

Q. What attitude do Modernists adopt ivhen punished 
by the Church ? 

A. They reflect that, after all, there is no progress 
without a battle, and no battle without its victims ; 
and victims they are willing to be, like the prophets 
and Christ Himself. They have no bitterness in their 
hearts against the authority which uses them roughly, 
for, after all, they readily admit that it is only doing 
its duty as authority. Their sole grief is that it remains 


deaf to their warnings, for in this way it impedes the 
progress of souls. 

Q. Have they any hope left ? 

A. They assure us that the hour will most surely 
oome when further delay will be impossible ; for if the 
laws of evolution may be checked for a while, they 
annot be finally evaded. 

Q. Do they at least pause in following out their 
plans ? 

A. They go their way, reprimands and condem 
nations notwithstanding, masking an incredible auda 
city under a mock semblance of humility. While they 
make a pretence of bowing their heads, their minds 
and hands are more boldly intent than ever on carrying 
out their purposes. 

Q. Why do the Modernists pretend to submit ? Why, 
like heretics, do they not leave the Church ? 

A. This policy they follow willingly and wittingly, 
both because it is part of their system that authority 
is to be stimulated but not dethroned, and because it 
is necessary for them to remain within the ranks of 
the Church, in order that they may gradually transform 
the collective conscience. 

Q. Transform the collective conscience .? But, ac 
cording to their principles, ought they not to submit 
themselves to this collective conscience ? 

A. * In saying this, they fail to perceive that they 
are avowing that the collective conscience is not with 
them, and that they have no right to claim to be its 



Q What conclusion must we come to with regard to 
Modernist teaching ? 

A. That for the Modernists, whether as authors 
or propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing 
immutable, in the Church. 

Q. Have they had any forerunners ? 

A. Nor, indeed, are they without forerunners in 
their doctrines ; for it was of these that Our Predecessor, 
Pius IX., wrote : " These enemies of divine revelation 
extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and 
sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the 
Catholic religion, as if this religion were not the work 
of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical dis 
covery susceptible of perfection by human efforts." 

Q.Do the Modernists offer us, on the subject of reve 
lation and dogma, a really new doctrine ? Has it not 
already been condemned ? 

A. On the subject of revelation and dogma in 

particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing 
new . We find it condemned in the syllabus of Pius IX ., 
where it is enunciated in these terms : " Divine revela 
tion is imperfect, and, therefore, subject to continual 
and indefinite progress, corresponding with the pro 
gress of human reason ";f and condemned still more 
solemnly in the Vatican Council : " The doctrine of 
the faith which God has revealed has not been pro 
posed to human intelligences to be perfected by them 
as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine 
* Eccycl. Qui Plurilus, Novtrubci 9, 1846. | Byll. Prop. 5, 


deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ, to be faith 
fully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also 
that sense of the sacred dogmas is to be perpetually 
retained which our Holy Mother the Church has once 
declared ; nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on 
plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of 
the truth." * 

Q. Does the Church, deciding this, intend to oppose 
the development of our knowledge, even concerning the 
faith ? 

A. Nor is the development of our knowledge, 
even concerning the faith, barred by this pronounce 
ment ; on the contrary, it is supported and maintained. 
For the same Council continues : " Let intelligence and 
science and wisdom, therefore, increase and progress 
abundantly and vigorously in individuals and in the 
mass, in the believer and in the whole Church, through 
out the ages and the centuries but only in its own 
kind, that is, according to the same dogma, the same 
sense, the same acceptation." f 




Q. We have studied the Modernist as philosopher, 
believer, and theologian. What remains to be con 
sidered ? 

* Const., Dei Filius, cap. iv. ( Loc. cit. 


A. It now remains for us to consider him as his 
torian, critic, apologist, and reformer. 

Q. What do certain Modernists, devoted to historical 
studies, seem to fear ? 

A. Some Modernists, devoted to historical studies, 
seem to be deeply anxious not to be taken for philo 

Q. What do they tell us as to their competence in 
philosophy ? 

A. About philosophy they profess to know nothing 

Q. Is this profession of ignorance sincere ? 

A. No. In this they display remarkable astute 

Q. Why, then, do the Modernist historians pretend to 
be ignorant of philosophy ? 

A. They are particularly desirous not to be sus 
pected of any prepossession in favour of philosophical 
theories which would lay them open to the charge of 
not being, as they call it, objective. 

Q. Do the Modernist historians, in spite of their 
assertions to the contrary, really allow themselves to be 
influenced by philosophical systems ? 

A. The truth is that their history and their 
criticism are saturated with their philosophy, and that 
their historico-critical conclusions are the natural 
outcome of their philosophical principles. This will 
be patent to anyone who reflects. 

Q. What are the three philosophical principles from 


which the Modernist historians deduce the three laws of 
history ? 

A. Their three first laws are contained in those 
three principles of their philosophy already dealt with : 
the principle of agnosticism, the theorem of the trans 
figuration of things by faith, and that other which may 
be called the principle of disfiguration. 

Q. According to the Modernists, what historical law 
follows from the philosophical principle of agnosticism ? 

A. Agnosticism tells us that history, like science, 
deals entirely with phenomena. 

Q. What conclusion directly follows from this first 
historical law deduced from agnosticism ? 

A. The consequence is that God, and every in 
tervention of God in human affairs, is to be relegated 
to the domain of faith as belonging to it alone. 

Q. i/ in history are found things in which the divine 
and the human intermingle, what will be the Modernises 
manner of dealing with them ? 

A. In things where there is combined a double 
element, the divine and the human as, for example, 
in Christ, or the Church, or the Sacraments, or the 
many other objects of the same kind a division and 
separation must be made, and the human element 
must be left to history while the divine will be assigned 
to faith. 

Q. Must we, then, distinguish between two kinds of 
Christ, two kinds of Church, and so on ? 

A. Yes. Hence we have that distinction, so 
current among the Modernists, between the Christ of 



history and the Christ of Faith ; the Church of history 
and the Church of Faith ; the Sacraments of history 
and the Sacraments of Faith ; and so in similar 

Q. Relatively to this human element, which is the 
only one agnosticism allows to be matter for history, 
what does the second philosophical principle tell us / 
mean the principle of transfiguration which is the in 
spiration of the Modernist historian ? 

A. We find that the human element itself, which 
the historian has to work on, as it appears in the 
documents, is to be considered as having been trans 
figured by Faith that is to say, raised above its 
historical conditions. 

Q. What, then, in virtue of this principle of trans 
figuration, is the second law that governs Modernist 
history ? 

A. It becomes necessary, therefore, to eliminate 
also the accretions which Faith has added, to 
relegate them to Faith itself and to the history of 

Q. Consequently, what are the things which a 
Modernist historian will eliminate from the history of 
Christ ? 

A. Thus, when treating of Christ, the historian 
must set aside all that surpasses man in his natural 
condition, according to what psychology tells us of 
him, or according to what we gather from the place 
and period of his existence. 

Q. What is the third law which the Modernist his- 


torian imposes upon himself in virtue of the philosophical 
principle catted disfiguration ? 

A. Finally, they require, by virtue of the third 
principle, that even those things which are not outside 
the sphere of history should pass through the sieve, 
excluding all, and relegating to faith everything which, 
in their judgment, is not in harmony with what they 
call the logic of facts, or not in character with the 
persons of whom they are predicated. 

Q. What conclusion do they deduce from this third 
laiv with regard to the words which the Evangelists 
attribute to our Divine Lord ? 

A. They will not allow that Christ ever uttered 
those things which do not seem to be within the 
capacity of the multitudes that listened to Him. 
Hence they delete from His real history and transfer 
to faith all the allegories found in His discourses. 

Q. We may, per adventure, inquire on what principles 
they make these divisions. Will they tell us ? 

A. Their reply is that they argue from the charac 
ter of the man, from his condition of life, from his 
education, from the complexus of the circumstances 
under which the facts took place. 

Q. Is that an objective criterion and such as serious 
history demands ? 

A. If We understand them aright, they argue on 
a principle which in the last analysis is merely sub 

Q. Can you prove that that is a merely subjective 
criterion ? 



A. It is proved by this. Their method is to put 
themselves into the position and person of Christ, and 
then to attribute to Him what they would have done 
under like circumstances. 

Q. How, in virtue of the three philosophical prin 
ciples which, according to them, govern history, do the 
Modernists treat Christ, Our Lord ? 

A. Absolutely a priori, and acting on philosophical 
principles which they hold, but which they profess to 
ignore, they proclaim that Christ, according to what 
they call His real history, was not God, and never did 
anything divine. 

Q. Having eliminated entirely the divine character 
of Christ from real history, do they at least leave intact 
Christ as Man ? 

A. As Man He did and said only what they, 
judging from the time in which He lived, consider that 
He ought to have said or done. 

Q. How, according to the Modernists, do philo 
sophy, history, and criticism stand in relation to one 
another ? 

A. As history takes its conclusions from philo 
sophy, so, too, criticism takes its conclusions from 

Q. flow does the Modernist critic treat the documents 
on which he works ? 

A. The critic, on the data furnished him by the 
historian, makes two parts of all his documents. Those 
that remain after the triple elimination above de 
scribed go to form the real history ; the rest is 


attributed to the history of Faith, or, as it is styled, to 
internal history. 

Q. Are there, then, according to the Modernists, 
two kinds of history : the history of Faith and real 
history ? 

A. Yes. The Modernists distinguish very care 
fully between these two kinds of history. 

1 Q. Then, is not the history of Faith, as the Modern 
ists call it, true history according to them ? 

A. It is to be noted that they oppose the history 
of Faith to real history precisely as real. 

Q. // the history of Faith is not real history, what 
do the Modernists say on the subject of the twofold Christ 
mentioned above ? 

A. As We have already said, we have a twofold 
Christ a real Christ, and a Christ, the one of Faith, 
who never really existed ; a Christ who has lived at 
a given time and in a given place, and a Christ who 
has never lived outside the pious meditations of the 

Q. Where is this Christ of Faith, this Christ who is 
not real according to the Modernists where especially is 
He portrayed ? 

A. The Christ, for instance, whom we find in the 
Gospel of St. John. 

Q- What, then, in the opinion of the Modernists, is 
the Gospel of St. John ? 

A. Mere meditation from beginning to end. 



Q. Is the dominion of philosophy over history con 
fined to prescribing to the critic the division of documents 
into two parish-documents serving for the history of 
Faith and documents serving for real history ? 

A. The dominion of philosophy over history does 
not end here. 

Q- After this division of documents into two lots, in 
the name of agnosticism, what other principle of Modernist 
philosophy makes a fresh appearance, to rule the critic ? 

A. Given that division, of which We have spoken, 
of the documents into two parts, the philosopher steps 
in again with his dogma of vital immanence. 

Q. What importance, for the Modernist critic, has 
this principle of vital immanence ? 

A. It shows how everything in the history of the 
Church is to be explained by vital emanation? 

Q. How, according to this principle, are facts which 
are but an emanation of life subordinated to the immanent 
need from which they emanate ? 

A. Since the cause or condition of every vital 
emanation whatsoever is to be found in some need or 
want, it follows that no fact can be regarded as antece 
dent to the need which produced it historically the 
fact must be posterior to the need. 

Q. What, then, does the historian in view of this 
principle ? How does the Modernist historian proceed 
in the history of the Church ? 


A. He goes over his documents again, whether 
they be contained in the Sacred Books or elsewhere, 
draws up from them his list of the particular needs of 
the Church, whether relating to dogma, or liturgy, or 
other matters which are found in the Church thus 

Q. Once this list has been drawn up, what does he 
do with it ? 

A. Then he hands his list over to the critic. 

Q. Aided by this list of the successive needs of the 
Church, what operation does the critic make the documents 
of the history of Faith undergo ? 

A. The critic takes in hand the documents dealing 
with the history of Faith, and distributes them, period 
by period, so that they correspond exactly with the 
list of needs, always guided by the principle that the 
narration must follow the facts, as the facts follow 
the needs. 

Q. Does it not happen at times that certain parts 
of the Sacred Scriptures, instead of simply revealing 
a need, are themselves the fact created by the need ? 

A. It may at times happen that some parts of 
the Sacred Scriptures, such as the Epistles, themselves 
constitute the fact created by the need. 

Q. But, whatever may be the case with regard to these 
exceptions, ivhat, in a general way, is the rule which 
serves to determine the date of origin of the documents of 
ecclesiastical history ? 

A. The rule holds that the age of any document 
can only be determined by the age in which each need 
has manifested itself in the Church. 



Q. After the classification of the documents according 
to the date of their origin arbitrarily determined upon, 
is there not another operation undertaken by the critic ? 
What distinction necessitates, in the, eyes of the Modernist 
critic, this new operation ? 

A. Further, a distinction must be made between 
the beginning of a fact and its development, for what 
is born in one day requires time for growth. 

Q. In virtue of this distinction between the origin 
of a fact and its development, what new partition does the 
Modernist critic make of his documents ? 

A. The critic must once more go over his docu 
ments, ranged as they are through the different ages, 
and divide them again into two parts, separating those 
that regard the origin of the facts from those that deal 
with their development. 

Q. What does he do with the documents that have 
reference to the development of a fact ? 

A. These he must again arrange according to their 

Q. What principle will direct him in determining 
this arrangement ? 

A. The philosopher must come in again. 

Q. What is the purpose of the principle which, 
according to the Modernist philosopher, dominates and 
governs history ? 

A. To enjoin upon the historian the obligation 


of following in all his studies the precepts and laws of 

Q. How, then, will the Modernist historian, armed 
with the law of evolution, treat the history of the Church ? 

A. It is next for the historian to scrutinize his 
documents once more, to examine carefully the cir 
cumstances and conditions affecting the Church during 
the different periods, the conserving force she has put 
forth, the needs both internal and external that have 
stimulated her to progress, the obstacles she has had 
to encounter. 

Q. In a word, what does the Modernist historian 
seek for in the documents of the history of the Church ? 

A. In a word, everything that helps to determine 
the manner in which the laws of evolution have been 
fulfilled in her. 

Q. After this attentive examination to discover in 
the history of the Church the law of her evolution, what 
does the historian do ? 

A. This done, he finishes his work by drawing up 
a history of the development in its broad lines. 

Q. What is the final operation that of the Modernist 
critic once he has, traced out for him thus, this fantastic 
outline of the history of the Church ? 

A. The critic follows and fits in the rest of the 
documents. He sets himself to write. The history is 

Q. Since the Modernist historian and critic allow 
themselves to be thus dominated by the principles of the 


philosopher, We ask here : Who is the author of this 
history ? The historian ? The critic ? 

A. Assuredly neither of these, but the philosopher. 

Q. Why the philosopher ? 

A. Because from beginning to end everything in 
it is a priori. 

Q. And what kind of a priori ? 

A. An apriorism that reeks of heresy. 

Q. Are such historians not to be pitied ? 

A. These men are certainly to be pitied, of whom 
the Apostle might well say, " They became vain in 
their thoughts . . . professing themselves to be wise, 
they became fools." * 

Q. But if these Modernist historians excite our pity, 
do they not also rouse us, and very justly, to indignation ? 

A. At the same time they excite resentment when 
they accuse the Church of arranging and confusing 
the texts after her own fashion, and for the needs of 
her cause. 

Q. What sentiment moves them to accuse the Church 
of torturing the texts ? 

A. They are accusing the Church of something for 
which their own conscience plainly reproaches them. 


Q. // the. Modernist historian arbitrarily distributes 
the documents throughout the centuries according to the 
pretended law of evolution, what follows with regard to 
the Sacred Scriptures ? 

* Bom. i. 21, 22. 


A. The result of this dismembering of the records, 
and this partition of them throughout the centuries, is 
naturally that the Scriptures can no longer be attributed 
to the authors whose names they bear. 

Q. Do our Modernist historians, seeing this conse 
quence, not draw back ? 

A. The Modernists have no hesitation in affirming 
generally that these books, and especially the Penta 
teuch and the first three Gospels, have been gradually 
formed from a primitive brief narration, by additions, 
by interpolations of theological or allegorical inter 
pretations, or parts introduced only for the purpose of 
joining different passages together. 

Q. By what right, in order to explain the formation 
of our Sacred Scriptures, have they recourse to the hypo 
thesis of successive additions made to a very brief primi 
tive redaction ? 

A. This means, to put it briefly and clearly, that 
in the Sacred Books we must admit a vital evolution, 
springing from and corresponding with the evolution 
of Faith. 

Q. But where do they find any trace of this pretended 
vital evolution ? 

A. The traces of this evolution, they tell us, are 
so visible in the books that one might almost write a 
history of it. 

Q. Have they tried to write this history of the vital 
evolution ivhich, according to them, has governed the 
successive additions made to the Sacred Scriptures ? 

A. Indeed, this history they actually do write, 
and with such an easy assurance that one might 



believe them to have seen with their own eyes the 
writers at work through the ages amplifying the Sacred 

Q. To what means have they recourse to confirm this 
story of the formation of the Sacred Text ? 

A. To aid them in this they call to their assistance 
that branch of criticism which they call textual, and 
labour to show that such a fact or such a phrase is 
not in its right place, adducing other arguments of 
the same kind. 

Q. What is to be thought of the assurance with which 
our Modernists proceed in explaining the formation of 
Holy Writ ? 

A. They seem, in fact, to have constructed for 
themselves certain types of narration and discourses, 
upon which they base their assured verdict as to 
whether a thing is or is not out of place. 

Q. Do they push their ingenuousness and overween* 
ing conceit to the point of themselves informing us how 
far they are qualified in this way to make such distinc 
tions .? 

A. To hear them descant of their works on the 
Sacred Books, in which they have been able to discover 
so much that is defective, one would imagine that before 
them nobody ever even turned over the pages of Scrip 
ture. The truth is that a whole multitude of Doctors, far 
superior to them in genius, in erudition, in sanctity, 
have sifted the Sacred Books in every way. 

Q. Was the treatment of the Holy Scriptures by the 
Doctors of old, who were infinitely superior to our 
Modernists, very different from theirs ? 


A. Yes. These Doctors, so far from finding in 
them anything blameworthy, have thanked God more 
and more heartily the more deeply they have gone into 
them, for His divine bounty in having vouchsafed to 
speak thus to men. 

Q. How do the Modernists explain to themselves 
(ironically] the respect of the Doctors of old for the Sacred 
Scriptures ? 

A. Unfortunately, these great Doctors did not 
enjoy the same aids to study that are possessed by the 

Q. What are, in short, these aids to study which the 
Doctors of old did not possess, but which the Modernists 
do enjoy ? 

A. They did not have for their rule and guide a 
philosophy borrowed from the negation of God, and a 
criterion which consists of themselves. 


Q. How, then, do you sum up the historical method 
of the Modernists ? 

A. We believe that We have set forth with 
sufficient clearness the historical method of the 
Modernists. The philosopher leads the way, the 
historian follows, and then, in due order, come the 
internal and textual critics. 

Q. Since a certain philosophy is the basis of this 
historical method of the Modernists, and is, as it were, 
its primal cause, how may we characterize their historical 
criticism ? 


A. c Since it is characteristic of the primary cause 
to communicate its virtue to causes which are second 
ary, it is quite clear that the criticism with which We 
are concerned is not any kind of criticism, but that 
which is rightly called agnostic, immanentist, and 
evolutionist criticism. 

Q. May one, then, make use of such criticism without 
detriment to the Faith ? 

A. Anyone who adopts it and employs it makes 
profession thereby of the errors contained in it, and 
places himself in opposition to Catholic teaching. 

Q. This being so, what must we think of the praises 
that certain Catholics bestow on such criticism ? 

A. It is much a matter for surprise that it should 
have found acceptance to such an extent amongst 
certain Catholics. 

Q. Why do certain Catholics allow themselves to be 
drawn to think so highly of criticism contrary to their 
Faith ? 

A. Two causes may be assigned for this : first, 
the close alliance which the historians and critics of 
this school have formed among themselves independent 
of all differences of nationality or religion ; second, 
their boundless effrontery. 

Q. Do all the Modernists of different nationalities 
support one another ? 

A. Yes. If one makes any utterance the others 
applaud him in chorus, proclaiming that science has 
made another step forward. 


Q. And how do they league together against anyone 
who criticizes them ? 

A. If an outsider should desire to inspect the new 
discovery for himself, they form a coalition against 

Q. To sum the matter up, what tactics do they 
pursue with regard to such as defend or attack this or 
that novelty of theirs ? 

A. He who denies it is decried as one who is 
ignorant, while he who embraces and defends it has 
all their praise. 

Q. Is not the result of these Modernist tactics to make 
fresh recruits ? 

A. In this way they entrap not a few who, did 
they but realize what they are doing, would shrink 
back with horror. 

Q. What has come to pass as a consequence of the 
audacity of the Modernists and the imprudent thought 
lessness of those who allow themselves to be imposed upon 
thereby ? 

A. The domineering overbearance of those who 
teach the errors, and the thoughtless compliance of 
the more shallow minds who assent to them, create a 
corrupted atmosphere which penetrates everywhere, 
and carries infection with it. But let Us pass to the 




Q. According to the Modernists, does the apologist 
also depend upon the philosopher, and on what grounds ? 

A. The Modernist apologist depends in two ways 
upon the philosopher. First, indirectly, inasmuch as 
his subject-matter is history history dictated, as we 
have seen, by the philosopher ; and, secondly, directly, 
inasmuch as he takes both his doctrines and his con 
clusions from the philosopher. 

Q. What, consequently, do the Modernists affirm with 
regard to the new apologetics ? 

A. That common axiom of the Modernist school, 
that in the new apologetics controversies in religion 
must be determined by psychological and historical 

Q. How do the Modernist apologists sacrifice to the 
rationalists the historical books in current use in the 
Church ? 

A. The Modernist apologists enter the arena pro 
claiming to the rationalists that, though they are 
defending religion, they have no intention of employ 
ing the data of the Sacred Books or the histories in 
current use in the Church and written upon the old 
lines, but real history composed on modern principles 
and according to the modern method. 

Q. But can it be that they speak thus only as an 


argumentum ad hominem, and not from personal 
conviction ? 

A. In all this they assert that they are not using 
an argumentum ad hominem, because they are really 
of the opinion that the truth is to be found only in 
this kind of history. 

Q. Do our Catholic Modernists find it necessary 
to reassure the rationalists as to the sincerity of their 
method ? 

A. They feel that it is not necessary for them 
to make profession of their own sincerity in their 
writings. They are already known to and praised 
by the rationalists as fighting under the same banner, 
and they plume themselves on these encomiums, which 
would only provoke disgust in a real Catholic. 

Q. Does this praise that rationalists bestoiv not 
disgust these Modernists of ours ? 

A. Far from that, for they use them as a counter- 
compensation to the reprimands of the Church. 


Q. Let us see how the Modernist conducts his apolo 
getics. What does he propose to do ? 

A. The aim he sets before himself is to make one. 
who is still without faith attain that experience of the 
Catholic religion. 

Q. Why is he so anxious to produce this experience 
in the non-believer ? 



A. Because this, according to their system, is 
the sole basis of faith. 

Q. How does a man acquire this personal experience 
of the Catholic religion ? 

A. There are two ways open to him, the objective 
and the subjective? 

Q. Whence starts the first or objective way ? 

A. The first of them starts from agnosticism. 

Q. What proof does this first way claim to establish ? 

A. It tends to show that religion, and especially 
the Catholic religion, is endowed with such vitality as 
to compel every psychologist and historian of good 
faith to recognize that its history hides some element 
of the unknown. 

Q. To establish this proof, what needs first to be 
demonstrated ? 

A. To this end it is necessary to prove that the 
Catholic religion, as it exists to-day, is that which was 
founded by Jesus Christ that is to say, that it is 
nothing else than the progressive development of the 
germ which He brought into the world. 

Q. But if Christ brought into the world only the 
germ of the Catholic religion, what task is laid upon 
the Modernists with regard to it ? 

A. It is imperative first of all to establish what 
this germ was. 

Q. By what formula do the Modernists claim to 
determine what this germ ivas ? 

A. This the Modernist claims to be able to do by 


the following formula : Christ announced the comi 
of the kingdom of God, which was to be realiz 
within a brief lapse of time and of which He was to 
become the Messiah, the divinely-given Founder and 

Q. This germ being thus determined, what, according 
to our Modernist apologists, must be shown in the next 
place ? 

A. Then it must be shown how this germ, always 
immanent and permanent in the Catholic religion, has 
gone on slowly developing in the course of history, 
adapting itself successively to the different circum 
stances through which it has passed, borrowing from 
them by vital assimilation all the doctrinal, cultual, 
ecclesiastical forms that served its purpose ; whilst, on 
the other hand, it surmounted all obstacles, van 
quished all enemies, and survived all assaults and all 

Q. To what conclusion do our Modernist apologists 
claim that we must come through duly considering this 
mass of facts ? 

A. Anyone who well and duly considers this mass 
of obstacles, adversaries, attacks, combats, and the 
vitality and fecundity which the Church has shown 
throughout them all, must admit that if the laws of 
evolution are visible in her life, they fail to explain 
the whole of her history the unknown rises forth from 
it and presents itself before us. 

Q. What is the radical defect of all these reasonings ? 

A. Thus do they argue, not perceiving that their 
determination of the primitive germ is only an a priori 



assumption of agnostic and evolutionist philosophy, 
and that the germ itself has been gratuitously defined 
so that it may fit in with their contention. 


Q. In the facts they allege to prove the Catholic 
religion, do Modernist apologists meet only with things 
that are deserving of admiration ? 

A. While they endeavour by this line of reason 
ing to prove and plead for the Catholic religion, these 
new apologists are more than willing to grant and to 
recognize that there are in it many things which are 

Q. Is dogma at least, in their minds, free from 
reproach ? 

A. Nay, they admit openly, and with ill-con 
cealed satisfaction, that they have found that -even its 
dogma is not exempt from errors and contradictions. 

Q. You say that they claim to have discovered in 
dogma errors and contradictions, and that they proclaim 
this with pleasure. But do they at least indignantly 
repudiate such errors ? 

A. Far from that, they add that this is not only 
excusable, but, curiously enough, that it is even right 
and proper. 

Q Do OU r Modernists discover any errors in our 
Sacred Books ? 

A. In the Sacred Books there are many passages 


referring to science or history where, according to 
them, manifest errors are to be found. 

Q. Having found that in the Bible there are errors 
in science and in history, how do they seek to excuse 
Holy Writ ? 

A. They say : the subject of these books is not 
science or history, but only religion and morals. In 
them history and science serve only as a species of 
covering, to enable the religious and moral experiences 
wrapped up in them to penetrate more readily among 
the masses. The masses understood science and 
history as they are expressed in these books, and it 
is clear that the expression of science and history in 
a more perfect form would have proved not so much 
a help as a hindrance. 

Q. What other excuse do they allege to justify the 
errors which they claim to discover in Holy Writ ? 

A. Moreover, they add, the Sacred Books, being 
essentially religious, are necessarily quick with life. 
Now life has its own truth and its own logic, quite 
different from rational truth and rational logic, belong 
ing, as they do, to a different order viz., truth of 
adaptation and of "proportion, both with what they 
call the medium in which it lives and with the end for 
which it lives. 

Q. But is not that as much as to say that errors 
become true and legitimate whenever they satisfy the 
necessities of vital adaptation ? 

A. Finally, the Modernists, losing all sense of 
control, go so far as to proclaim as true and legitimate 
whatever is explained by life. 


Q. Can we admit such a legitimation of error in- 
Holy Writ? 

A. We, Venerable Brethren, for whom there is but 
one only truth, and who hold that the Sacred Books, 
written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, have 
God for their Author,* declare that this is equivalent 
to attributing to God Himself the lie of utility or 
officious lie ; and we say with St. Augustine : " In an 
authority so high, admit but one officious lie, and there 
will not remain a single passage of those apparently 
difficult to practise or to believe, which on the same 
pernicious rule may not be explained as a lie uttered 
by the author wilfully and to serve a purpose. "f And 
thus it will come about, the holy Doctor continues, that 
" everybody will believe and refuse to believe what 
he likes or dislikes in them " namely, the Scriptures. 

Q. Do our Modernist apologists allow, themselves to 
be stopped by these condemnations of the Church ? 

A. No ! The Modernists pursue their way 

Q. What other enormity do they advance ivith regard 
to the Sacred Scriptures ? 

A. They grant also that certain arguments ad 
duced in the Sacred Books in proof of a given doctrine, 
like those, for example, which are based on the 
prophecies, have no rational foundation to rest on. 

Q. Do they still essay some justification of such 
errors ? 

A. They defend even these as artifices of preach 
ing which are justified by life. 

* Cone. Vat., De Bevel, can. 2. f Epist. 28. 


Q. More than that ? 

A. They are ready to admit, nay, to proclaim, 
that Christ Himself manifestly erred in determining 
the time when the coming of the kingdom of God was 
to take place. 

Q. They dare to say that Christ made a mistake ! 
But is not that the height of impudence ? 

A. No ! they answer ; and they tell us that we 
must not be surprised at this, since even He Himself 
was subject to the laws of life. 

Q. There we have Our Lord Jesus Christ convicted 
of error. After this, what is to become of the dogmas of 
the Church ? 

A. They say, the dogmas bristle with glaring 

Q. How do our Modernists claim to justify in dogma 
these flagrant contradictions ? 

A. But what does it matter, they say, since, 
apart from the fact that vital logic accepts them, they 
are not repugnant to symbolical truth. Are we not 
dealing with the Infinite, and has not the Infinite an 
infinite variety of aspects ? 

Q. But are the Modernists not ashamed so to justify 
contradictions ? 

A. On the contrary ; to maintain and defend 
these theories they do not hesitate to declare that 
the noblest homage that can be paid to the Infinite 
is to make it the object of contradictory state 


Q. What must we think of such excesses ? 

A. When they justify even contradictions, what 
is it that they will refuse to justify ? 


Q. We have just seen in what objective way 
Modernists hope to dispose the non-believer to faith ; but 
is there not also another way, and do they not bring 
forward other arguments ? 

A. It is not solely by objective arguments that the 
non-believer may be disposed to faith. There are also 
those that are subjective? 

Q. On what philosophical doctrine do the Modernists 
build up these subjective arguments ? 

A. For this purpose the Modernist apologists 
return to the doctrine of immanence. They endeavour, 
in fact, to persuade their non-believer that down in 
the very depths of his nature and his life lie hidden 
the need and the desire for some religion. 

Q, Is it just of any religion at all that they believe 
they find in us the desire and the need ? 

A. Not a religion of any kind but the specific 
religion known as Catholicism. 

Q. How, tvith the doctrine of immanence, do they 
claim to discover in us the need and the desire of a super 
natural religion like the Catholic religion ? 

A. This it is which, they say, is absolutely postu 
lated by the perfect development of life. 


Q. And here, in union with you, Holy Father, what 
must we deplore ? 

A. Here again We have grave reason to complain 
that there are Catholics who, while rejecting imma 
nence as a doctrine, employ it as a method of apolo 

Q. Do not these Catholic apologists attenuate the 
method of immanence, and do they desire to find any 
thing else in man than a certain harmony with the 
supernatural order ? 

A. They employ the method of immanence so 
imprudently that they seem to admit, not merely a 
capacity and a suitability for the supernatural, such 
as has at all times been emphasized, within due limits, 
by Catholic apologists, but that there is in human 
nature a true and rigorous need for the supernatural 

Q. Are these apologists Modernists in the fullest 
sense of the word ? 

A. Truth to tell, it is only the moderate 
Modernists who make this appeal to an exigency for 
the Catholic religion. 

Q. The moderate ones ! What more, then, can the 
others say ? 

A. As for the others, who might be called integral- 
ists, they would show to the non-believer, as hidden 
in his being, the very germ which Christ Himself had 
in His consciousness, and which He transmitted to 

Q. // such is a summary description of the apologetic 
method of the Modernists, what is to be thought of it ? 


A. That it is * in perfect harmony with their 

Q. How may their doctrines be described ? 

A. Methods and doctrines replete with errors, 
made not for edification but for destruction, not for 
the making of Catholics but for the seduction of those 
who are Catholics into heresy ; and tending to the utter 
subversion of all religion. 



Q. What remains to be said in order fully to describe 
the Modernist ? 

A. It remains for Us now to say a few words about 
the Modernist as reformer. 

Q. Cannot we already discover in the Modernists a 
marked mania for reform ? 

A. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly 
clear how great and how eager is the passion of such 
men for innovation. 

Q. D e S this mania for reform extend to many 
matters ? 

A. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing 
on which it does not fasten. 

Q. What is the first reform the Modernists demand ? 
A. They wish philosophy to be reformed, espe 
cially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. 


Q. What kind of reform in philosophy do they 
desire, especially in seminaries ? 

A. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be rele 
gated to the history of philosophy and to be classed 
among obsolete systems, and the young men to be 
taught modern philosophy. 

Q. Why do they wish that modern philosophy should 
be taught in seminaries ? 

A. Because they consider it alone is true and 
suited to the times in which we live. 

Q. After this reform of philosophy, what other do 
they call for ? 

A. They desire the reform of theology. 

Q. What kind of reform do they desire in theology ? 

A. Rational theology is to have modern philo 
sophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to 
be founded on the history of dogma. 

Q. And as for history, what reform do they demand ? 

A. As for history, it must be written and taught 
only according to their methods and modern prin 

Q. What reform in dogma do they ivant ? 

A. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are 
to be harmonized with science and history. 

Q. How is the Catechism to be reformed ? 

A. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted 
except those that have been reformed and are within 
the capacity of the people. 


Q. And what reform is to be effected in worship ? 

A. Regarding worship, they say, the number of 
external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be 
taken to prevent their further increase. 

Q. Are not certain Modernists more indulgent with 
regard to ceremonies ? 

A. Some of the admirers of symbolism are dis 
posed to be more indulgent on this head. 

Q. What more serious reforms do the Modernists call 
for in the government of the Church ? 

A. They cry out that ecclesiastical government 
requires to be reformed in all its branches, but espe 
cially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments. 
They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must 
be brought into harmony with the modern conscience, 
which now wholly tends towards democracy. A share 
in ecclesiastical government should, therefore, be given 
to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity, 
and authority, which is too much concentrated, should 
be decentralized. 

Q. What further reform do they ask for ? 

A. The Roman Congregations, and especially the 
Index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified. 

Q. What reform do they demand in the exercise of 
ecclesiastical authority in the social and political world ? 

A. The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line 
of conduct in the social and political world ; while 
keeping outside political organizations, it must adapt 
itself to them, in order to penetrate them with its spirit. 

Q. And in morals ? 


A. With regard to morals, they adopt the prin 
ciple of the Americanists that the active virtues are 
more important than the passive, and are to be more 
encouraged in practice. 

Q. What do they ask of the clergy ? 

A. They ask that the clergy should return to their 
primitive humility and poverty, and that in their 
ideas and action they should admit the principles of 

Q. // they desire to see so many virtues in the clergy, 
they exalt ecclesiastical celibacy, do they not ? 

A. There are some who, gladly listening to the 
teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the 
suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. 

Q. Seeing that all these reforms are demanded by the 
Modernists, what question rises naturally to one s lips ? 

A. What is there left in the Church which is not 
to be reformed by them and according to their prin 
ciples ? 


Q. Why have we set forth at such, length the Modernist 
doctrines ? 

A. It may, perhaps, seem to some that We have 
dwelt at too great length on this exposition of the 


doctrines of the Modernists, but it was necessary that 
We should do so. 

Q. Why was so long an exposition necessary ? 

A. In order to meet their customary charge that 
We do not understand their ideas. 

Q. And for what further motive ? 

A. To show that their system does not consist in 
scattered and unconnected theories, but, as it were, in 
a closely connected whole, so that it is not possible to 
admit one without admitting all. 

Q. Do these two reasons not explain why we have 
given a didactic turn to our exposition of Modernism ? 

A. For this reason, too, We have had to give to 
this exposition a somewhat didactic form, and not to 
shrink from employing certain unwonted terms which 
the Modernists have brought into use. 


Q. How can one, in one word, define Modernism ? 

A. Now, with Our eyes fixed upon the whole 
system, no one will be surprised that We should define 
it to be the synthesis* of all the heresies. 

Q. Why do you define Modernism to be the rendezvous 
of all the heresies ? 

A. Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task 
of collecting together all the errors that have been 
broached against the Faith, and to concentrate into 
one the sap and substance of them all, he could not 

* The Latin word is conlectus, and the translation were better, 
perhaps, as in the French, rendezvous. There is, indeed, a 
synthesis, but it is the Pope rather than the Modernists who makes 
it. J. F. 


succeed in doing so better than the Modernists have 

Q. Is it enough to affirm that, by their multiplied 
errors, the Modernists would destroy the Catholic re 
ligion ? 

A. Nay, they have gone farther than this, for, as 
We have already intimated, their system means the 
destruction not of the Catholic religion alone, but of 
all religion. 

Q. Must not the, rationalists, then, smile upon the 
Modernists ? 

A. The rationalists are not wanting in their 
applause, and the most frank and sincere amongst 
them congratulate themselves on having found in the 
Modernists the most valuable of all allies. 

Q. How can you show us that the Modernists are the 
most powerful auxiliaries of the rationalists ? 

A. To do so, let us turn for a moment to that 
most disastrous doctrine of agnosticism. 

Q. Having, by agnosticism, barred every avenue 
leading to God, how do the Modernists claim to approach 
Him ? 

A. By it every avenue to God on the side of the 
intellect is barred to man, while a better way is sup 
posed to be opened from the side of a certain sense of 
the soul and action. 

Q. Has such a contention any chance of succeeding ? 

A. Who does not see how mistaken is such a 
contention ? 


Q.Why ? 

A. For the sense of the soul is the response to the 
action of the thing which the intellect or the outward 
senses set before it. 

Q. Since, in order to draw near to God, sentiment is 
led either by the intelligence or by the senses, what will 
inevitably follow if the Modernists take away the guid 
ance of the intelligence ? 

A. Take away the intelligence, and man, already 
inclined to follow the senses, becomes their slave. 

Q. Is not this attempt to approach God by agnostic 
sentiment idle also from another point of view ? 

A. It is doubly mistaken, from another point of 
view, for all these fantasies of the religious sense will 
never be able to destroy common sense, and common 
sense tells us~fchat emotion and everything that leads 
the heart captive proves a hindrance instead of a help 
to the discovery of truth. 

Q. Of what truth do you speak when you say that the 
emotions of the soul hinder the discovery of truth ? 

A. We speak of truth in itself. 

Q. Is there not a simulacrum of truth, the discovery 
of which is facilitated by the emotions, and what is to 
be thought of it ? 

A. That other purely subjective truth, the fruit of 
the internal sense and action, if it serves its purpose 
for the play of words, is of no benefit to the man who 
wants above all things to know whether outside him 
self there is a God into whose hands he is one day to 


Q. With agnosticism for its starting-point, religious 
sentiment has no basis. Now, to what have the Modernists 
recourse to find it a basis ? 

A. The Modernists call in experience, to eke out 
their system. 

Q. But what does this experience add to that sense 
of the soul ? 

A. Absolutely nothing beyond a certain intensity 
and a proportionate deepening of the conviction of the 
reality of the object. But these two will never make 
the sense of the soul into anything but sense, nor will 
they alter its nature, which is liable to deception when 
the intelligence is not there to guide it ; on the 
contrary, they but confirm and strengthen this nature, 
for the more intense the sense is, the more it is really 

Q. Is there not great need of prudence and of learning 
in this matter of religious sense and experience ? 

A. As we are here dealing with religious sense 
and the experience involved in it, it is known to you 
how necessary in such a matter is prudence, and the 
learning by which prudence is guided. You know it 
from your own dealings with souls, and especially with 
souls in whom sentiment predominates ; you know it 
also from your reading of works of ascetical theology. 

Q. But are these ascetical works good guides in such 
matters ? 

A. Yes ; they are works for which the Modernists 
have but little esteem, but which testify to a science 
and a solidity far greater than theirs, and to a refine 
ment and subtlety of observation far beyond any 



which the Modernists take credit to themselves for 

Q. Have you, then, but a very poor opinion of the 
religious experiences of the Modernists ? 

A. It seems to Us nothing short of madness, or, 
at the least, consummate temerity, to accept for true, 
and without investigation, these incomplete experi 
ences which are the vaunt of the Modernist. 

Q. How can we frame an argumentum ad hominem 
against the Modernists, and turn against themselves the 
proof they claim to find in religious experience ? 

A. Let us for a moment put the question : If ex 
periences have so much force and value in their 
estimation, why do they not attach equal weight to 
the experience that so many thousands of Catholics 
have that the Modernists are on the wrong path ? 
Is it that the Catholic experiences are the only ones 
which are false and deceptive ? 

Q. Talcing up again the thread of our argument, we 
ask, what does the majority of men think of this sense and 
this experience ? 

A. The vast majority of mankind holds and 
always will hold firmly that sense and experience 
alone, when not enlightened and guided by reason, 
cannot reach to the knowledge of God. 

Q. What, then, remains ? 

A. Atheism and the absence of all religion. 

Q. // the Modernists teaching on religious ex 
perience leads to Atheism, do they not find in their 
doctrine of symbolism something to avert that danger ? 


A. Certainly it is not the doctrine of symbolism 
that will save us from this. For if all the intellectual 
elements, as they call them, of religion are nothing 
more than mere symbols of God, will not the very name 
of God or of Divine personality be also a symbol, and if 
this be admitted, the personality of God will become a 
matter of doubt, and the gate will be opened to 

Q. Is the Modernist doctrine of symbolism the only 
doctrine of theirs that leads to Pantheism ? 

A. To Pantheism pure and simple that other 
doctrine of the divine immanence leads directly. 

Q. Can you show by some irrefutable argument how 
this consequence follows ? 

A. This is the question which We ask : Does or 
does not this immanence leave God distinct from man ? 
If it does, in what does it differ from the Catholic 
doctrine, and why does it reject the doctrine of 
external revelation ? If it does not, it is Pantheism. 
Now, the doctrine of immanence in the Modernist 
acceptation holds and professes that every phenomenon 
of conscience proceeds from man as man. The 
rigorous conclusion from this is the identity of man 
with God, which means Pantheism. 

Q. Does this pantheistic conclusion follow from any 
other of the Modernist doctrines ? 

A. The distinction which Modernists make be 
tween science and faith leads to the same conclusion. 

Q. Will you prove this to us by rigorous reasoning ? 

A. The object of science, they say, is the reality 



of the knowable ; the object of faith, on the contrary, 
is the reality of the unknowable. Now, what makes 
the unknowable unknowable is the fact that there is 
no proportion between its object and the intellect a 
defect of proportion which nothing whatever, even in 
the doctrine of the Modernist, can suppress. Hence 
the unknowable remains, and will eternally remain, 
unknowable to the believer as well as to the philosopher. 
Therefore, if any religion at all is possible, it can only 
be the religion of an unknowable reality. And why 
this religion might not be that soul of the universe, of 
which certain rationalists speak, is something which 
certainly does not seem to Us apparent. 

Q. What ultimate conclusion have we the right to 
come to ? 

A. These reasons suffice to show superabundantly 
by how many roads Modernism leads to Atheism and 
to the annihilation of all religion. 

Q. What are the stages in this descent of the human 
mind towards the negation of all religion ? 

A. The error of Protestantism made the first step 
on this path ; that of Modernism makes the second ; 
Atheism will make the next. 



Q. The better to understand what Modernism is, and 
to find the fitting remedies for it, what must now be done ? 

A. To penetrate still deeper into the meaning of 
Modernism and to find a suitable remedy for so deep a 
sore, it behoves Us to investigate the causes which have 
engendered it, and which foster its growth. 


Q. What is the proximate and immediate cause of 
Modernism ? 

A. That the proximate and immediate cause 
consists in an error of the mind cannot be open to 

Q. Whence, in its turn, comes this perversity of mind 
which is the proximate cause of Modernism, or, in other 
words, what are the remote causes of Modernism ? 

A. We recognize that the remote causes may be 
reduced to two curiosity and pride. 

Q. Is curiosity really a cause of error ? 

A. Curiosity by itself, if not prudently regulated, 
suffices to account for all errors. Such is the opinion 



of Our Predecessor, Gregory XVI., who wrote : "A 
lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberra 
tions of human reason when it yields to the spirit of 
novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it 
seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know, and 
when, relying too much on itself, it thinks it can find 
the truth outside the Catholic Church, wherein truth 
is found without the slightest shadow of error." * 

Q. What evil is it that, even more than curiosity, 
Hinds the mind and precipitates into error ? 

A. It is pride which exercises an incomparably 
greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into 

Q. Has pride really entered into the doctrines of the 
Modernists ? 

A. Pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, 
finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and 
lurking in its every aspect. 

Q. Can you describe to us the different aspects of 
Modernism which betray its pride ? 

A. It is pride which fills Modernists with that 
self-assurance by which they consider themselves and 
pose as the rule for all. It is pride which puffs them up 
with that vainglory which allows them to regard them 
selves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes 
them say, elated and inflated with presumption, " We 
are not as the rest of men," and which, lest they should 
seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise 
novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride 
which arouses in them the spirit of disobedience, and 

* Ep. Encycl. Singulari nos, 1 Kal. Jul., 1834. 


causes them to demand a compromise between 
authority and liberty. It is owing to their pride that 
they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget 
to reform themselves, and that they are found to be 
utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the 
supreme authority. 

Q. Is there, then, no truer cause of Modernism than 
pride ? 

A. Truly there is no road which leads so directly 
and so quickly to Modernism as pride. 

Q. Would a Catholic priest or layman, if overcome 
by pride, be inevitably a subject for Modernism ? 

A. When a Catholic layman or a priest forgets the 
precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce 
ourselves if we would follow Christ, and neglects to 
tear pride from his heart, then it is he who most of all 
is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. 

Q. What duty is, therefore, incumbent on Bishops 
with regard to these priests full of pride ? 

A. For this reason, Venerable Brethren, it will be 
your first duty to resist such victims of pride, to employ 
them only in the lowest and obscurest offices. The 
higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so 
that the lowliness of their position may limit their 
power of causing damage. 

Q. Is it not also the duty of directors of seminaries to 
keep those seminarists from becoming priests who are 
infected with the spirit of pride ? 

A. Examine most carefully your young clerics by 
yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and 


when you find the spirit of pride amongst them, reject 
them without compunction from the priesthood. 

Q. Up to the, present has this duty of keeping those 
infected with the spirit of pride from becoming priests been 
faithfully enough fulfilled ? 

A. Would to God that this had always been done 
with the vigilance and constancy which were required ! 


Q. In addition to these two moral causes, curiosity and 
pride, what is the chief intellectual cause of Modernism ? 

A. If we pass on from the moral to the intellectual 
causes of Modernism, the first and the chief which 
presents itself is ignorance. 

Q. Ignorance ! in the, Modernists who think them 
selves so learned / can that really be true ? 

A. Yes, these very Modernists who seek to be 
esteemed as Doctors of the Church, who speak so 
loftily of modern philosophy, and show such contempt 
for scholasticism, have embraced the one with all its 
false glamour, precisely because their ignorance of the 
other has left them without the means of being able to 
recognize confusion of thought and to refute sophistry. 

Q. Has, then, this false modern philosophy, with 
which the Modernists, in their ignorance of scholasticism, 
have allowed themselves to be taken, given birth to 
Modernism ? 

A. Their whole system, containing as it does 
errors so many and so great, has been born of the union 
between faith and false philosophy. 



Q. Are the Modernists zealous in propagating their 
pernicious system ? 

A. Would that they had but displayed less zeal 
and energy in propagating it ! But such is their 
activity and such their unwearying labour on behalf of 
their cause, that one cannot but be pained to see them 
waste such energy in endeavouring to ruin the Church, 
when they might have been of such service to her had 
their efforts been better directed. 

Q. Do the Modernists employ artifice in this active 
propaganda to spread abroad their system ? 

A. Yes ; and their artifices to delude men s minds 
are of two kinds. 

Q. What are these two kinds of artifices ? 

A. The first to remove obstacles from their path, 
the second to devise and apply actively and patiently 
every resource that can serve their purpose. 

1. Negative Means. 

Q. Are there, then, things which the Modernists 
consider as obstacles to be removed ? 

A. They recognize that three chief difficulties 
stand in their way. 

Q. What are these three obstacles which the Modernists 
strive to remove ? 

A. The scholastic method of philosophy, the 


authority and Tradition of the Fathers, and the 
magisterium of the Church. 

Q. Do the Modernists really wage war on these three 
things ? 

A. On these they wage unrelenting war. 

Q. What weapons do they use against scholasticism ? 

A. Against scholastic philosophy and theology 
they use the weapons of ridicule and contempt. 

Q. What causes the Modernist to wage war on 
scholastic philosophy ? 

A. Ignorance or fear, or both.* 

Q. Do dislike and hatred of scholasticism go hand- 
in-hand with Modernism ? 

A. Certain it is that the passion for novelty is 
always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, 
and there is no surer sign that a man is tending to 
Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike 
for the scholastic method. 

Q. As to their hatred of scholastic philosophy, what 
grave warning are we entitled to give to the Modernists ? 

A. Let the Modernists and their admirers remem 
ber the proposition condemned by Pius IX. : " The 
method and principles which have served the ancient 
doctors of scholasticism when treating of theology no 
longer correspond with the exigencies of our time, or 
the progress of science." * 

Q. In their war against scholastic philosophy, what 
* SylL, Prop. 13. 


do the Modernists do with regard to the second obstacle, 
which, as we have said, is Tradition ? 

A. They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort 
to weaken the force and falsify the character of Tra 
dition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. 

Q. What law of the Second Council of Nicea ought 
true Catholics always to call to mind in this matter of 
Tradition ? 

A. For Catholics nothing will remove the authority 
of the Second Council of Nicea, where it condemns 
those " who dare, after the impious fashion of here 
tics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent 
novelties of some kind ... or endeavour by malice or 
craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions 
of the Catholic Church." 

Q. And further, as to this question of Tradition, what 
was the declaration of the Fourth Council of Con 
stantinople ? 

A. " We therefore profess to preserve and guard 
the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apos 
tolic Church, by the holy and most illustrious Apostles, 
by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and 
by every one of those divine interpreters, the Fathers 
and Doctors of the Church." 

Q. Is not respect for Tradition inscribed also in the 
profession of faith ? 

A. The Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV. and Pius IX., 
ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the 
following declaration : "I most firmly admit and 
embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and 
other observances and constitutions of the Church." 


Q. Respecting Tradition so little, how do the Modernists 
treat the holy Fathers of the Church ? 

A. The Modernists pass judgment on the holy 
Fathers of the Church even as they do upon Tradition. 

Q. With what overweening audacity do they speak of 
the Fathers ? 

A. With consummate temerity they assure the 
public that the Fathers, while personally most worthy 
of all veneration, were entirely ignorant of history and 
criticism, for which they are only excusable on account 
of the time in which they lived. 

Q. At war with scholastic philosophy and Tradition, 
what is the third obstacle the Modernists endeavour to 
remove from their path ? 

A. Finally, the Modernists try in every way to 
diminish and weaken the authority of the ecclesiastical 
magisterium itself. 

Q. How do they proceed against the ecclesiastical 

magisterium ? 

A. By sacrilegiously falsifying its origin, character, 
and rights, and by freely repeating the calumnies of its 

Q. As regards this war of the Modernists against the 
ecclesiastical magisterium, can we not apply to them 
former condemnations ? 

A. To the entire band of Modernists may be 
applied those words which Our Predecessor sorrowfully 
wrote : " To bring contempt and odium on the mystic 
Spouse of Christ, who is the true light, the children of 
darkness have been wont to cast in her face before the 


world a stupid calumny, and, perverting the meaning 
and force of things and words, to depict her as the 
friend of darkness and ignorance, and the enemy of 
light, science, and progress." * 

Q. Such being the Modernists hatred of the Church, 
what is their attitude with regard to Catholics who defend 

A. This being so, there is little reason to wonder 
that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred 
on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the 

Q. Does the ill-will of the Modernists toivards Catholics 
who are faithful to the Church go as far as to insult them ? 

A. There is no species of insult which they do not 
heap upon them. 

Q. What is their favourite insult against Catholics ? 

A. Their usual course is to charge them with 
ignorance or obstinacy. 

Q. // the Catholic who defends the Church is a learned 
man, what tactics do the Modernists pursue in his case ? 

A. When an adversary rises up against them with 
an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, 
they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him, 
to nullify the effects of his attack. 

Q. Is such conduct at least palliated by a like conduct 
on the part of the Modernists towards their own ? 

A. This policy towards Catholics is the more 
invidious in that they belaud with admiration which 

* Motu Proprio, Ut Mysticvm, March 14, 1891. 


knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on 
their side. 

Q. What, especially, is their way of dealing with 
regard to works filled full of novelties ? 

A. They are found hailing their works, exuding 
novelty in every page, with a chorus of applause. 

Q. By what sign do they know that an author is more 
or less learned ? 

A. For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct 
proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on 
antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and 
the ecclesiastical magisterium. 

Q. // a Modernist be condemned by the Church, have 
the rest of them the audacity still to stand by him ? 

A. When one of their number falls under the 
condemnations of the Church, the rest of them, to the 
disgust of good Catholics, gather round him, loudly and 
publicly applaud him, and hold him up in veneration 
as almost a martyr for truth. 

Q. How is it that the young allow themselves to be 
unsettled by all this noise which the Modernists make ? 

A. The young, excited and confused by all this 
clamour of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of 
being branded as ignorant, others ambitious to rank 
among the learned, and both classes goaded internally 
by curiosity and pride, not unfrequently surrender and 
give themselves up to Modernism. 

Q. But is not this method of winning over the young 
to Modernism, by means of noise and audacity, one of 


those stratagems, mentioned above, which they use to 
conquer ? 

A. Here we have already some of the artifices 
employed by Modernists to exploit their wares. 

2. Positive Means, 

Q. Are the Modernists zealous to enlist new recruits ? 

A. What efforts do they not make to win new 
recruits ! 

Q. What are their principal means of conquest ? 

A. They seize upon professorships in the semin 
aries and Universities, and gradually make of them 
chairs of pestilence. In sermons from the pulpit they 
disseminate their doctrines, although possibly in utter 
ances which are veiled. In congresses they express 
their teachings more openly. In their social gatherings 
they introduce them and commend them to others. 
Under their own names and under pseudonyms they 
publish numbers of books, newspapers, reviews, and 
sometimes one and the same writer adopts a variety of 
pseudonyms, to trap the incautious reader into believing 
in a multitude of Modernist writers. In short, with 
feverish activity they leave nothing untried in act, 
speech, and writing. 

Q. With what result are all these Modernist artifices 
employed ? 

A. With what result ? We have to deplore the 
spectacle of many young men, once full of promise and 
capable of rendering great services to the Church, now 
gone astray. 


Q. What is there that cannot but cause us sorrow on 
the part of certain Catholics who are not as yet thorough 
going Modernists ? 

A. It is also a subject of grief to Us that many 
others, while they certainly do not go so far as 
the former, have yet been so infected by breathing a 
poisoned atmosphere, as to think, speak, and write 
with a degree of laxity which ill becomes a Catholic. 

Q. Are these Catholics, who allow themselves to be 
contaminated by Modernism, to be found only among the 
laity ? 

A. They are to be found among the laity, and in 
the ranks of the clergy. 

Q. But is it possible that there are some even in the 
religious Orders ? 

A. They are not wanting even in the last place 
where one might expect to meet them in religious 

Q. How do these Catholics, laymen, priests, and 
religious, who are all more or less tainted with Modernism, 
treat of Biblical questions ? 

A. If they treat of Biblical questions, it is upon 
Modernist principles. 

Q. How do they write history ? 

A. If they write history, they carefully, and with 
ill-concealed satisfaction, drag into the light, on the 
plea of telling the whole truth, everything that appears 
to cast a stain upon the Church. 

Q. How do they act with regard to pious popular 
traditions and venerable relics ? 


A. Under the sway of certain a priori conceptions, 
they destroy as far as they can the pious traditions of 
the people, and bring into disrespect certain relics 
highly venerable from their antiquity. 

Q. At bottom, what is it that impels them to break 
thus with the ancient traditions ? 

A. They are possessed by the empty desire of 
having their names upon the lips of the public, and 
they know they would never succeed in this were they 
to say only what has always been said by all men. 

Q. But have not these Catholics, who are more or less 
Modernists, good intentions in breaking with the tra 
ditions of the past ? 

A. It may be that they have persuaded themselves 
that in all this they are really serving God and the 

Q. What is the fact ? 

A. In reality they only offend both, less perhaps 
by their works in themselves than by the spirit in 
which they write, and by the encouragement they 
thus give to the aims of the Modernists. 



Q. What did Leo XIII. do against the errors of the 

Modernists ? 

A. Against this host of grave errors, and its 
secret and open advance, Our Predecessor, Leo XIII., 
of happy memory, worked strenuously, both in his 
words and his acts, especially as regards the study of the 

Q. Were the Modernists put to rout by these words 
and these acts ? 

A. But, as we have seen, the Modernists are not 
easily deterred by such weapons. With an affectation 
of great submission and respect, they proceeded to 
twist the words of the Pontiff to their own sense, while 
they described his action as directed against others 
than themselves. Thus the evil has gone on increasing 
from day to day. 

Q. What determination was our Holy Father, Pius X., 
obliged to come to ? 

A. He tells us : We, therefore, have decided to 
suffer no longer delay, and to adopt measures which are 
more efficacious. 

Q. In what terms does he call on Bishops, pastors of 



souls, educators, and the head Superiors of religious 
Institutes ? 

A. We exhort and conjure you to see to it that in 
this most grave matter no one shall be in a position to 
say that you have been in the slightest degree wanting 
in vigilance, zeal, or firmness. And what We ask of 
you and expect of you, We ask and expect also of all 
other pastors of souls, of all educators and professors of 
clerics, and in a very special way of the Superiors of 
religious communities. 


Q. What does the Holy Father ordain on the subject 
of philosophy ? 

A. He says : In the first place, with regard to 
studies, We will and strictly ordain that scholastic 
philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. 

Q. Following Leo XIII., what reservation does 
Pius X. make in his prescription ? 

A. It goes without saying that " if anything is 
met with among the scholastic doctors which may be 
regarded as something investigated with an excess of 
subtlety, or taught without sufficient consideration ; 
anything which is not in keeping with the certain 
results of later times ; anything, in short, which is 
altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire 
whatever to propose it for the imitation of present 
generations." * 

Q. What scholastic philosophy is prescribed in 
seminaries and religious Institutes ? 

* Leo XIII., Encycl. Mterni Patris. 



A. Let it be clearly understood above all things 
that, when We prescribe scholastic philosophy, We 
understand chiefly that which the Angelic Doctor has 
bequeathed to us, and We therefore declare that all 
the ordinances of Our Predecessor on this subject con 
tinue fully in force ; and, as far as may be necessary, 
We do decree anew, and confirm, and order that they 
shall be strictly observed by all. In seminaries where 
they have been neglected, it will be for the Bishops to 
exact and require their observance in the future ; 
and let this apply also to the Superiors of religious 

Q. Would it be a great disadvantage to set aside 
St. Thomas ? 

A. We admonish professors to bear well in mind 
that they cannot set aside St. Thomas, especially in 
metaphysical questions, without grave disadvantage. 

Q. In what words does Pius X. recommend the study 
of theology ? 

A. On this philosophical foundation the theo 
logical edifice is to be carefully raised. Promote the 
study of theology by all means in your power, so that 
your clerics on leaving the seminaries may carry with 
them a deep admiration and love of it, and always find 
in it a source of delight. For " in the vast and varied 
abundance of studies opening before the mind desirous 
of truth, it is known to every one that theology occupies 
such a commanding place that, according to an ancient 
adage of the wise, it is the duty of the other arts and 
sciences to serve it, and to wait upon it after the 
manner of handmaidens." * 

* Leo XIII., Lett. Ap. In Magna, December 10, 1889. 


Q. Does not the Sovereign Pontiff, all the same, praise 
the theologians who teach positive theology ? 

A. We will add that We deem worthy of praise 
those who, with full respect for tradition, the Fathers, 
and the ecclesiastical magisterium, endeavour, with 
well-balanced judgment, and guided by Catholic prin 
ciples (which is not always the case), to illustrate 
positive theology by throwing upon it the light of 
true history. 

Q. In teaching positive theology, what is to be 
avoided ? 

A. * It is certainly necessary that positive theology 
should be held in greater appreciation than it has been 
in the past, but this must be done without detriment 
to scholastic theology ; and those are to be disapproved 
as Modernists who exalt positive theology in such a 
way as to seem to despise the scholastic. 

Q. According to what law ought the study of natural 
sciences to be regulated ? 

A. With regard to secular studies, let it suffice to 
recall here what Our Predecessor has admirably said : 
" Apply yourselves energetically to the study of natural 
sciences, in which department the things that have 
been so brilliantly discovered and so usefully applied, 
to the admiration of the present age, will be the object 
of praise and commendation to those who come after 
us."* But this is to be done without interfering with 
sacred studies, as Our same Predecessor prescribed in 
these most weighty words : " If you carefully search 
for the cause of those errors you will find that it lies 
in the fact that in these days, when the natural sciences 

* Leo XIII., Alloc., March 7, 1880. 


absorb so much study, the more severe and lofty studies 
have been proportionately neglected some of them 
have almost passed into oblivion, some of them are 
pursued in a half-hearted or superficial way, and, sad 
to say, now that the splendour of the former estate is 
dimmed, they have been disfigured by perverse doc 
trines and monstrous errors."* We ordain, therefore, 
that the study of natural sciences in the seminaries be 
carried out according to the law. 


Q. With what prudence, and according to what rules, 
must professors for seminaries and Catholic Universities 
be chosen ? 

A. All these prescriptions, both Our own and those 
of Our Predecessor, are to be kept in view whenever 
there is question of choosing directors and professors 
for seminaries and Catholic Universities. Anyone who 
in any way is found to be tainted with Modernism is 
to be excluded without compunction from these offices, 
whether of government or of teaching, and those who 
already occupy them are to be removed. The same 
policy is to be adopted towards those who openly or 
secretly lend countenance to Modernism, either by 
extolling the Modernists and excusing their culpable 
conduct, or by carping at scholasticism, and the 
Fathers, and the magisterium of the Church, or by 
refusing obedience to ecclesiastical authority in any 
of its depositaries ; and towards those who show a love 
of novelty in history, archaeology, Biblical exegesis ; 

* Loc. cit. 


and, finally, towards those who neglect the sacred 
sciences or appear to prefer to them the secular. In 
all this question of studies you cannot be too watchful 
or too constant, but most of all in the choice of pro 
fessors ; for, as a rule, the students are modelled after 
the pattern of their masters. Strong in the conscious 
ness of your duty, act always in this matter with 
prudence and with vigour. 


Q. With what vigilance are candidates for Holy 
Orders to be chosen ? 

A. Equal vigilance and severity are to be used in 
examining and selecting candidates for Holy Orders. 
Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty ! God 
hateth the proud and the obstinate mind. 

Q. What will be required in future as a condition for 
validly conferring the doctorate of theology and canon 

A. For the future the doctorate of theology and 
canon law must never be conferred on anyone who has 
not first of all made the regular course of scholastic 
philosophy; if conferred, it shall be held as null and 

Q. What rules laid down for clerics, both secular and 
regular, in Italy, are henceforth extended to all countries ? 

A. The rules laid down in 1896 by the Sacred 
Congregation of Bishops and Regulars for the clerics, 
both secular and regular, of Italy, concerning the fre 
quenting of the Universities, We now decree to be 
extended to all nations. 


Q. What prohibition is added by the Sovereign 
Pontiff ? 

A. Clerics and priests inscribed in a Catholic 
Institute or University must not in the future follow 
in civil Universities those courses for which there are 
chairs in the Catholic Institutes to which they belong. 
If this has been permitted anywhere in the past, We 
ordain that it be not allowed for the future. 

Q. What must the Bishops do who preside over the 
direction of such Universities and Institutes ? 

A. Let the Bishops who form the governing board 
of such Catholic Universities or Institutes watch with 
all care that these Our commands be constantly 


Q. What is the duty of the Bishops as regards writings 
tainted with Modernism ? 

A. It is also the duty of the Bishops to prevent 
writings of Modernists, or whatever savours of 
Modernism or promotes it, from being read when 
they have been published, and to hinder their publica 
tion when they have not. 

Q. What is their duty in this matter with regard to 
seminaries and Universities ? 

A. No books or papers or periodicals whatever of 
this kind are to be permitted to seminarists or Univer 
sity students. The injury to them would be not less 
than that which is caused by immoral reading nay, 


it would be greater, for such writings poison Christian 
life at its very fount. 

Q. Ought the, same measures to be taken in the case 
of works written by Catholics who are imbued with 
modern philosophy and unsafe in theology ? 

A. The same decision is to be taken concerning 
the writings of some Catholics who, though not evilly 
disposed themselves, are ill instructed in theological 
studies and imbued with modern philosophy, and strive 
to make this harmonize with the Faith, and, as they 
say, to turn it to the profit of the Faith. The name 
and reputation of these authors cause them to be read 
without suspicion, and they are, therefore, all the 
more dangerous in gradually preparing the way for 

Q. Are the Bishops bound publicly and solemnly 
to condemn the pernicious books that get into their 
dioceses ? 

A. To add some more general directions in a 
matter of such moment, We order that you do every 
thing in your power to drive out of your dioceses, even 
by solemn interdict, any pernicious books that may 
be in circulation there. The Holy See neglects no 
means to remove writings of this kind, but their 
number has now grown to such an extent that it is 
hardly possible to subject them all to censure. Hence 
it happens sometimes that the remedy arrives too late, 
for the disease has taken root during the delay. We 
will, therefore, that the Bishops, putting aside all fear 
and the prudence of the flesh, despising the clamour 
of evil men, shall, gently by all means but firmly, do 
each his own part in this work, remembering the in- 


junctions of Leo XIII. in the Apostolic Constitution 
Officiorum : " Let the Ordinaries, acting in this also 
as delegates of the Apostolic See, exert themselves to 
proscribe and to put out of reach of the faithful 
injurious books or other writings printed or circulated 
in their dioceses." In this passage the Bishops, it is 
true, receive an authorization, but they have also a 
charge laid upon them. Let no Bishop think that he 
fulfils this duty by denouncing to Us one or two books, 
while a great many others of the same kind are being 
published and circulated. 

Q. May the Bishops condemn, and ought they even 
at times to condemn, works that have an Imprimatur ? 

A. Nor are you to be deterred by the fact that a 
book has obtained elsewhere the permission which is 
commonly called the Imprimatur, both because this 
may be merely simulated, and because it may have 
been granted through carelessness or too much indul 
gence or excessive trust placed in the author, which 
last has, perhaps, sometimes happened in the religious 
Orders. Besides, just as the same food does not agree 
with every one, it may happen that a book, harmless 
in one place, may, on account of the different circum 
stances, be hurtful in another. Should a Bishop, 
therefore, after having taken the advice of prudent 
persons, deem it right to condemn any of such books 
in his diocese, We give him ample faculty for the pur 
pose, and We lay upon him the obligation of doing so. 
Let all this be done in a fitting manner, and in certain 
cases it will suffice to restrict the prohibition to the 

Q. When the prohibition is restricted to the clergy, 


may Catholic booksellers continue to sell the book that 
has been forbidden ? 

A. In all cases it will be obligatory on Catholic 
booksellers not to put on sale books condemned by the 

Q. What are the duties of the Bishops with regard to 
Catholic booksellers ? 

A. While We are treating of this subject, We wish 
the Bishops to see to it that booksellers do not, through 
desire for gain, engage in evil trade. It is certain that 
in the catalogues of some of them the books of the 
Modernists are not unfrequently announced with no 
small praise. If they refuse obedience, let the Bishops, 
after due admonition, have no hesitation in depriving 
them of the title of Catholic booksellers. This applies, 
and with still more reason, to those who have the title 
of Episcopal booksellers. If they have that of Pon 
tifical booksellers, let them be denounced to the Apos 
tolic See. Finally, We remind all of Article XXVI. of 
the above-mentioned Constitution Officiorum : " All 
those who have obtained an Apostolic faculty to read 
and keep forbidden books are not thereby authorized 
to read and keep books and periodicals forbidden by 
the local Ordinaries, unless the Apostolic faculty ex 
pressly concedes permission to read and keep books 
condemned by anyone whomsoever." 


Q. What is the duty of the Bishops with regard to 
the publication of books, etc. ? 

A. It is not enough to hinder the reading and the 
sale of bad books ; it is also necessary to prevent them 


from being published. Hence, let the Bishops use 
the utmost strictness in granting permission to 

Q. Ought the Bishops to institute official censors ? 

A. Under the rules of the Constitution Officiorum, 
many publications require the authorization of the 
Ordinary, and in certain dioceses (since the Bishop 
cannot personally make himself acquainted with them 
all) it has been the custom to have a suitable number 
of official censors for the examination of writings. 
We have the highest esteem for this institution of 
censors, and We not only exhort, but We order, that 
it be extended to all dioceses. In all Episcopal Curias, 
therefore, let censors be appointed for the revision of 
works intended for publication, and let the censors be 
chosen from both ranks of the clergy secular and 
regular men whose age, knowledge, and prudence will 
enable them to follow the safe and golden mean in their 

Q. What shall be the duties of these censors ? 

A. It shall be their office to examine everything 
which requires permission for publication according to 
Articles XLI. and XLII. of the above-mentioned Con 
stitution. The censor shall give his verdict in writing. 
If it be favourable, the Bishop will give the permission 
for publication by the word Imprimatur, which must 
be preceded by the Nihil Obstat and the name of the 

Q. Must censors be appointed in the Roman Curia ? 

A. In the Roman Curia official censors shall be 
appointed in the same way as elsewhere, and the duty 


of nominating them shall appertain to the Master of 
the Sacred Palace, after they have been proposed to 
the Cardinal Vicar and have been approved and 
accepted by the Sovereign Pontiff. It will also be 
the office of the Master of the Sacred Palace to solect 
the censor for each writing. Permission for publica 
tion will be granted by him as well as by the Cardinal 
Vicar or his Vicegerent, and this permission, as above 
prescribed, must be preceded by the Nihil Obstat and 
the name of the censor. 

Q. May mention of the censor sometimes be sup 
pressed ? 

A. Only on very rare and exceptional occasions, 
and on the prudent decision of the Bishop, shall it be 
possible to omit mention of the censor. 

Q. What precaution must be taken for the protection 
of the censor ? 

A. The name of the censor shall never be made 
known to the authors until he shall have given a 
favourable decision, so that he may not have to suffer 
inconvenience either while he is engaged in the ex 
amination of a writing, or in case he should withhold 
his approval. 

Q. On what condition may a censor be chosen from 
among the members of a religious Order ? 

A. Censors shall never be chosen from the religious 
Orders until the opinion of the Provincial, or, in Rome, 
of the General, has been privately obtained ; and the 
Provincial or the General must give a conscientious 
account of the character, knowledge, and orthodoxy 
of the candidate. 


Q. What approbations must books have that are 
published by religious ? 

A. We admonish religious Superiors of their most 
solemn duty never to allow anything to be published 
by any of their subjects without permission from 
themselves and from the Ordinary. 

Q. May the censor rely upon his title to defend his 
personal opinions ? 

A. Finally, We affirm and declare that the title of 
censor with which a person may be honoured has no 
value whatever and can never be adduced to give 
credit to the private opinions of him who holds it. 


Q. May members of the secular clergy manage reviews 
or newspapers without the authorization of the Ordinary ? 

A. Having said this much in general, We now 
ordain in particular a more careful observance of 
Article XLII. of the above-mentioned Constitution 
Officiorum, according to which "it is forbidden to 
secular priests, without the previous consent of the 
Ordinary, to undertake the editorship of papers or 
periodicals." This permission shall be withdrawn 
from any priest who makes a wrong use of it after 
having received an admonition thereupon. 

Q. What are the duties of the Bishops with regard to 
correspondents or collaborators of reviews and news 
papers ? 


A. With regard to priests who are correspondents 
or collaborators of periodicals, as it happens not un- 
frequently that they contribute matter infected with 
Modernism to their papers or periodicals, let the 
Bishops see to it that they do not offend in this manner ; 
and if they do, let them warn the offenders and prevent 
them from writing. 

Q. What is the duty of the Superiors of religious 
Orders, and, in case of their negligence, the duty of the 
Bishops ? 

A. We solemnly charge in like manner the 
Superiors of religious Orders that they fulfil the same 
duty ; and should they fail in it, let the Bishops make 
due provision, with authority from the Supreme Pontiff. 

Q. Must there be a special censor appointed for each 
review and newspaper ? What shall be his office, and 
what the Bishop s ? 

A. Let there be, as far as this is possible, a special 
censor for newspapers and periodicals written by 
Catholics. It shall be his office to read in due time 
each number after it has been published, and if he find 
anything dangerous in it, let him order that it be 
corrected as soon as possible. The Bishop shall have 
the same right even when the censor has seen nothing 
objectionable in a publication. 


Q. What rules are binding on priests who organize a 
congress of priests or take part in one ? 

A. We have already mentioned congresses and 
public gatherings as among the means used by the 


Modernists to propagate and defend their opinions. 
In the future Bishops shall not permit congresses of 
priests except on very rare occasions. When they do 
permit them it shall only be on condition that matters 
appertaining to the Bishops or to the Apostolic See be 
not treated in them, and that no resolutions or petitions 
be allowed that would imply a usurpation of sacred 
authority, and that absolutely nothing be said in them 
which savours of Modernism, Presbyterianism, or 
Laicism. At congresses of this kind, which can only 
be held after permission in writing has been obtained 
in due time and for each case, it shall not be lawful for 
priests of other dioceses to be present without the 
written permission of their Ordinary. Further, no 
priest must lose sight of the solemn recommendation of 
Leo XIII. : " Let priests hold as sacred the authority 
of their pastors ; let them take it for certain that the 
sacerdotal ministry, if not exercised under the guidance 
of the Bishops, can never be either holy, or very 
fruitful, or worthy of respect." * 


Q. In what terms does His Holiness, Pius X., order 
the constitution of vigilance committees in every diocese ? 

A. But of what avail would be all Our commands 
and prescriptions if they be not dutifully and firmly 
carried out ? In order that this may be done, it has 
seemed expedient to Us to extend to all dioceses the 
regulations which the Bishops of Umbria, with great 
wisdom, laid down for theirs many years ago. 

* Lett. Encycl. Nobilissvma Gallorum, February 10, 1884. 


" In order," they say, " to extirpate the errors 
already propagated, and to prevent their further 
diffusion, and to remove those teachers of impiety 
through whom the pernicious effects of such diffusion 
are being perpetuated, this sacred Assembly, following 
the example of St. Charles Borromeo, has decided to 
establish in each of the dioceses a Council consisting of 
approved members of both branches of the clergy, 
which shall be charged with the task of noting the 
existence of errors, and the devices by which new ones 
are introduced and propagated, and to inform the 
Bishop of the whole, so that he may take counsel 
with them as to the best means for suppressing the 
evil at the outset, and preventing it spreading for 
the ruin of souls or, worse still, gaining strength 
and growth."* We decree, therefore, that in every 
diocese a council of this kind, which We are pleased 
to name " The Council of Vigilance," be instituted 
without delay. 

Q. How are the members of the Council of Vigilance 
to be chosen ? 

A. The priests called to form part in it shall be 
chosen somewhat after the manner above prescribed 
for the censors. 

Q. When must they meet, and are they bound to 
secrecy ? 

A. They shall meet every two months on an 
appointed day in the presence of the Bishop. They 
shall be bound to secrecy as to their deliberations and 

* Acts of the Congress of the Bishops of Uiubria, November, 
1849, lit. 2, art. 6. 



Q. What shall be the duty of the members of the 
Council of Vigilance ? 

A. In their functions shall be included the follow 
ing : They shall watch most carefully for every trace 
and sign of Modernism both in publications and in 
teaching, and to preserve from it the clergy and the 
young they shall take all prudent, prompt, and 
efficacious measures. 

Q. What must be, in an especial manner, the object 
of their attention ? 

A. Let them combat novelties of words, remember 
ing the admonitions of Leo XIII. :* "It is impossible 
to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by 
unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the 
faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order 
of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on 
new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social 
vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, 
and many other things of the same kind." Language 
of the kind here indicated is not to be tolerated either 
in books or in lectures. 

Q. Must the Councils keep an eye upon the works 
that deal with pious local traditions and relics ? 

A. The Councils must not neglect the books 
treating of the pious traditions of different places or 
of sacred relics. Let them not permit such questions 
to be discussed in journals or periodicals destined to 
foster piety, neither with expressions savouring of 
mockery or contempt, nor by dogmatic pronounce 
ments, especially when, as is often the case, what is 

* Instruct. S. C. NN. EE. EE., January 27, 1902. 


stated as a certainty either does not pass the limits of 
probability or is based on prejudiced opinion. 

Q. What rules must be observed with regard to relics ? 

A. Concerning sacred relics, let this be the rule : 
If Bishops, who alone are judges in such matters, 
know for certain that a relic is not genuine, let them 
remove it at once from the veneration of the faithful ; 
if the authentications of a relic happen to have been 
lost through civil disturbances, or in any other way, 
let it not be exposed for public veneration until the 
Bishop has verified it. The argument of prescription 
or well-founded presumption is to have weight only 
when devotion to a relic is commendable by reason of 
its antiquity, according to the sense of the Decree 
issued in 1896 by the Congregation of Indulgences and 
Sacred Relics : " Ancient relics are to retain the 
veneration they have always enjoyed except when in 
individual instances there are clear arguments that they 
are false or supposititious." 

Q. What rules must be followed in judging of pious 
traditions ? 

A. In passing judgment on pious traditions, let it 
always be borne in mind that in this matter the Church 
uses the greatest prudence, and that she does not allow 
traditions of this kind to be narrated in books except 
with the utmost caution, and with the insertion of the 
declaration imposed by Urban VIII. : and even then 
she does not guarantee the truth of the fact narrated ; 
she simply does not forbid belief in things for which 
human evidence is not wanting. On this matter the 
Sacred Congregation of Rites, thirty years ago, decreed 
as follows : " These apparitions or revelations have 



neither been approved nor condemned by the Holy See, 
which has simply allowed them to be believed on purely 
human faith, on the tradition which they relate, cor 
roborated by testimony and documents worthy of 
credence."* Anyone who follows this rule has no 
cause to fear. For the devotion based on any appari 
tion, in as far as it regards the fact itself, that is to say, 
in so far as the devotion is relative, always implies the 
condition of the fact being true ; while in as far as it is 
absolute, it is always based on the truth, seeing that its 
object is the persons of the Saints who are honoured. 
The same is true of relics. 

Q. And, last, must the Council of Vigilance keep a 
watch on social institutions and writings on social 
questions ? 

A. Finally, We entrust to the Councils of Vigilance 
the duty of overlooking assiduously and diligently 
social institutions as well as writings on social questions, 
so that they may harbour no trace of Modernism, but 
obey the prescriptions of the Roman Pontiffs. 


Q. What does the Sovereign Pontiff prescribe to all the 
Bishops and all the Superiors-General of religious 
Orders ? 

A. Lest what We have laid down thus far should 
pass into oblivion, We will and ordain that the Bishops 
of all dioceses, a year after the publication of these 
letters and every three years thenceforward, furnish 

* Decree, May 2, 1877. 


the Holy See with a diligent and sworn report on the 
things which have been decreed in this Our Letter, and 
on the doctrines that find currency among the clergy, 
and especially in the seminaries and other Catholic 
institutions, those not excepted which are not subject 
to the Ordinary, and We impose the like obligation on 
the Generals of religious Orders with regard to those 
who are under them. 



THIS, Venerable Brethren, is what We have thought 
it Our duty to write to you for the salvation of all who 
believe. The adversaries of the Church will doubt 
lessly abuse what We have said to refurbish the old 
calumny by which We are traduced as the enemy of 
science and of the progress of humanity. As a fresh 
answer to such accusations, which the history of the 
Christian religion refutes by never-failing evidence, 
it is Our intention to establish by every means in Our 
power a special Institute in which, through the co 
operation of those Catholics who are most eminent for 
their learning, the advance of science and every other 
department of knowledge may be promoted under the 
guidance and teaching of Catholic truth. God grant 
that We may happily realize Our design with the 
assistance of all those who bear a sincere love for the 
Church of Christ. But of this We propose to speak on 
another occasion. 

Meanwhile, Venerable Brethren, fully confident in 
your zeal and energy, We beseech for you with Our 
whole heart the abundance of heavenly light, so that 
in the midst of this great danger to souls from the 
insidious invasions of error upon every hand, you may- 
see clearly what ought to be done, and labour to do it 
with all your strength and courage. May Jesus Christ, 



the Author and Finisher of our Faith, be with you in His 
power ; and may the Immaculate Virgin, the destroyer 
of all heresies, be with you by her prayers and aid. 
And We, as a pledge of Our affection and of the Divine 
solace in adversity, most lovingly grant to you, your 
clergy and people, the Apostolic Benediction. 

Given at St. Peter s, Rome, on the eighth day of 
September, one thousand nine hundred and seven, the 
fifth year of Our Pontificate. 

Pius X., POPE. 



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Catechism on Modernism 
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